How to Prevent Soccer Injuries
Soccer is the most popular sport across the globe – played in over 200 countries with over 300 million participants. We all know about soccer, whether its through notorious soccer films like ‘She’s the Man’ or through our favorite soccer players like Cristiano Ronaldo. It is a universally loved sport; and we are all aware of the risks associated with soccer - whether or not you play it. Although there is no full contact during the games, soccer can get quite aggressive. And, like any other sport, soccer can lead to many injuries.
There are four major injury types in soccer: sprains to the ankle/knee and strains to hamstrings/groin.
Injuries can occur at anytime – during competitions or even during the training and practices. There are a few ways you can reduce and help prevent the risk of getting any of these injuries.
1. Player factors – the muscle tightness, joint stiffness, etc.
Warm-up and cool-down regularly before and after a game. Specific training targeting the four major areas (ankle, knee, hamstring, and groin) can help many ways including loosening muscles by increasing blood flow and decrease risk of muscle tears. Before running up and down the field for your game, give yourself a few minutes to learn and implement a series of stretches that will benefit your body. Like they say: better safe than sorry!
If you are unsure about which stretches and warm-ups to do, check out the FIFA 11+ guide. You can slowly increase your training by implementing some of the warm-ups within the guide. Gradually increase your training and consequently see better performance and (the best part?) better injury prevention.
2. Ensuring your equipment is effective
First, it is critical to have a shin guard and appropriate footwear (depending on what court you are playing on – indoor or outdoor). Ensure the traction is compatible with the field you will be playing on. Too much traction may result in ankle inversion. Or maybe your shoes are too loose or too tight. Whatever it may be - don’t disregard it! Ankle injury is arguably the most common in soccer. Identify which footwear to purchase here.
It is suggested that you tape your ankle. This is the process of taping your skin in order to protect and keep your joints in a specific position. How does this work? The tape stimulates additional nerve receptors which results in quicker body responses to ankle inversion movements. If you are still confused you can read here about how to correctly tape your ankle or watch this video to see it done. Another method would be to invest in an ankle brace. Protect your ankles before you end up missing an entire season due to lack of care.
3. Fair play
Most injuries are a result of foul play. To lessen the chances of an injury occurring on the field, educate yourself and your teammates on fair play. Additionally, it will be more beneficial for you if the referee is strict and vigilant with the game rules!
Safety is key. Be the next star soccer player in your city but make sure you follow these steps carefully, so you can reach your soccer goals without hurting yourself!
Doral, Mahmut Nedim Nedim, and Mahmut Nedim Doral. Sports Injuries. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2012.
d’Hooghe, Pieter P. R. N., and Gino M. M. J. Kerkhoffs. The Ankle in Football. Springer Paris, 2014.
FIFA 11 | YRSA, www.yrsa.ca/fifa-11.html