What is soccer's impact on the body?
Soccer is a physically demanding sport, no matter what the age or level of the athlete. Many times, athletes are asked to play several games in one weekend or even one day. Because soccer is an intense contact sport, we see many players with contact injuries (from collisions with another player, the goalpost, etc). We also see a variety of non-contact injuries, many of which can be prevented. The Sports Medicine team at Children’s Colorado is passionate about educating coaches, parents and children on ways to prevent some of these injuries.
What are common soccer injuries?
- Concussions can happen to soccer players, although findings show that most concussions aren’t from repeatedly heading the ball, but are from collisions with other players, the ground, goalposts, or when the ball strikes the head unexpectedly.
- Hip flexor tendinitis is a common soccer injury, especially during periods of rapid growth.
- Common knee injuries range from acute knee injuries, such as ligament tears (ACL/MCL) and muscle strains, to more chronic knee problems such as patellofemoral pain.
- Ankle sprains are the most common injury below the knee.
Does soccer affect a certain age group or gender more than others?
Our Sports Medicine specialists see more anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in teenaged, female soccer players. However, both male and female soccer athletes go through repeated growth spurts that leave them prone to overuse injuries (repeated stress on certain parts of the body due to too much activity), which have become especially prevalent with the onset of year-around training. It is important to remember that even professional athletes have an “off-season,” and we recommend a significant period of rest for all athletes no matter what the level of competition.
Resources for parents and coaches
The SportsMetrics Program at Children’s Colorado is a great resource for coaches and parents of young soccer players. It was originally designed to reduce non-contact ACL injuries in female athletes, and teaches athletes how to run, jump, hop and land correctly.
Learn more about preventing sports injuries and our SportsMetrics Program.