A new study by researchers at Children's Hospital in Columbus shows a significant increase in the number and rate of soccer-related injuries.
Mike Foley reports.
The 25-year study began in 1990 and focused on soccer players between the ages of 7 and 17. It found the number of soccer-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments increased each year by 78 percent. Most were sprains or strains, followed by fractures and soft tissue injuries. Tracy Mehan with the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital offers the following recommendations.
"Make sure they participate in a pre-season conditioning program, make sure they’re warming up before every practice and every game, always wear your protective equipment like shin guards and mouth guards, and make sure you’re following all the rules."
Concussions and other closed-head injuries accounted for only about 7 percent of the injuries, but researchers say the rate of concussions increased nearly 1600 percent over the study period. Mehan says young athletes take longer to recover from concussions and can put themselves at greater risk if they return to play too soon. The study also found that most of the injuries occurred when a player was struck by another player or the ball. That’s why another recommendation calls for limited use of heading, and actually avoiding practice of the skill until kids turn 11. The study is published in Pediatrics. According to estimates, more than 3 million youth players participate in U.S. soccer programs.