Youth soccer is associated with higher than average injuries when compared to other contact/collision sports, particularly among young, pre-adolescent players. Young female players are prone to knee and ACL injuries while young male players are prone to ankle injuries. Concussions are also a fairly common injury associated with youth soccer due to collisions with other players. An emphasis on safety through teaching and rule enforcement from coaches and referees can be very helpful in reducing soccer-related injuries.
Soccer (known as football outside the United States) is one of the most popular team sports in the world and has seen tremendous growth in the United States over the last decade. An estimated 15.5 million people play soccer in the U.S. with two national youth organizations enrolling 650,000 and 3.2 million youth players each. Additionally, over 700,000 children played soccer in U.S. high schools in 2008-2009. Unfortunately, along with the growing rate of participation means more soccer-related injuries.
Risk of Injury
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), through its National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, estimated that there were 186,544 soccer-related injuries in 2006. About 80 percent of these injuries were among people below the age of 24 with 44 percent of the injuries affecting those under the age of 15.
Common Soccer Injuries
Soccer is classified as a high to moderate intensity contact/collision sport with most injuries caused by player to player collisions or impact from hitting the ground, ball, or goal post. Thankfully, most soccer injuries are considered minor, only requiring basic first aid or temporary rest from the game.
85-95 percent of soccer injuries occur to the lower-extremities:
- Ankle injuries account for 16% to 29% of soccer injuries and are most common in male players
- Knee injuries account for 7% to 36% of soccer injuries and are most common in female players
- The lower leg (5%