But soccer is a contact sport, and injuries are bound to happen. Collisions with other players can cause bruises and even concussions. All the running involved in a soccer game can lead to muscle pulls and strains, and getting hit with a ball or improperly heading one can cause head or neck injuries.
To learn how to keep things as safe as possible while playing soccer, follow these safety tips.
With so many people playing soccer these days, it's only natural that some will end up getting hurt. Fortunately, most soccer injuries are minor, but serious injuries such as broken bones and concussions do happen.
Ankle sprains are the most common soccer injury; other frequent injuries include hamstring pulls or tears, groin pulls, muscle cramps, shin splints, concussions, and pulled or strained calf muscles. In addition, players can get repetitive-stress injuries (RSIs) such as tendonitis or stress fractures from playing too much or playing through pain.
Soccer doesn't require a lot of gear for each player other than shin guards and cleats, but it's a good idea to give some thought to all of these important pieces of equipment before you play:
Coming into the soccer season in good shape will not only help you be a better player, it will also go a long way toward preventing injuries. Start working out and eating right a few months before the season is set to begin. Better yet, get regular exercise and eat a healthy diet year-round, and then you won't need to worry about being in shape for the season.
Here are some other things to bear in mind before you start play:
Know and obey the rules of soccer. Unsafe play is a major cause of injuries and will lead to you getting kicked out of the game. In fact, many leagues will suspend you for additional games if you are a repeat offender.
Keep your head up and be aware of your teammates and opposing players at all times. Collisions are more likely if you go charging blindly down the field and don't pay attention to other players.
Learn and use proper techniques, particularly when it comes to heading the ball. Heading the ball can injure your head and neck if you don't do it properly. If you don't know where other players are, you run the risk of head-to-head collisions if two of you jump to head a ball. And protect your tongue — keep your mouth closed and your tongue away from your teeth while heading a ball.
If you get a cramp or feel pain while playing, ask to come out of the game, and don't start playing again until the pain goes away. Playing through pain might seem like a brave thing to do, but it can increase the severity of an injury and possibly keep you on the sidelines for longer stretches of time.
Keep soccer fun. That's why you started playing in the first place, isn't it? Follow some basic precautions and stay aware of what's going on around you, and you should be able to avoid most injuries. And that'll keep you out on the field where you want to be.
Reviewed by: Alfred Atanda Jr., MD
Date reviewed: May 2010
|BigSoccer.com This site features soccer links from around the world, chats, and more.|
|Women's Soccer World Women's Soccer World offers info on female soccer athletes, news, and teams near you.|
|MLSnet.com-The Official Site of Major League Soccer Visit this website for info about stats and scores of major league soccer players and teams.|
|American College of Sports Medicine This site has tips on staying safe while playing sports and exercising.|
|National Youth Sports Safety Foundation This organization offers a newsletter with helpful safety tips and facts about sports injury prevention.|
|National Athletic Trainers' Association This site contains information on certified athletic trainers and tips on preventing and healing sports injuries.|
|Repetitive Stress Injuries Repetitive stress injuries happen when too much stress is placed on a part of the body, causing problems like swelling, pain, muscle strain, and tissue damage.|
|5 Ways to Prepare for Your Sports Season How can you get ready to play your best season ever? Read these tips for teen athletes.|
|Knee Injuries Healthy knees are needed for many activities and sports and getting hurt can mean some time sitting on the sidelines.|
|Choosing the Right Sport for You If you're having trouble choosing a sport, this article can help!|
|Sports and Exercise Safety Playing hard doesn't have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how.|
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