Soccer moms and dads are gleefully loading up the lawn chairs and heading out to the soccer field with young Johnny or Jacqueline to watch their big match. Along with the snacks and equipment, sunscreen and drinks, parents need to pack a bit of caution when it comes to knowing the possible consequences of playing certain sports in terms of sports-related injuries. While playing soccer or baseball or any other sport is a great way for your child to get some exercise, meet new friends and reap all of the benefits of playing a team sport, it’s important to know that sports injuries can happen in an instant.
Many of us think of hockey and football as sports where injuries may occur, but soccer?
According to Mom’s Team, the Trusted Source for Sports Injuries, on their website www.momsteam.com they quote a clinical report from The American Academy of Pediatrics study which states, “Injury Rate in Youth Soccer Higher than Other Contact Sports, Study Finds”.
The site further quotes the American Academy of Pediatrics study as finding that “Soccer has a higher injury rate than many contact/collision sports such as field hockey, rugby, basketball, with players younger than 15 at higher relative injury risk compared with older players, as concluded in a clinical report in the February 2010 journal Pediatrics.” (Source; www.momsteam.com)
The American Academy of Pediatrics study goes on to say that, “injury rates in youth soccer, known as football outside the United States (and Canada) are higher than in many other contact/collision sports and have greater relative numbers in younger, preadolescent players. With regard to musculoskeletal injuries, young females tend to suffer more injuries, and young males tend to suffer more ankle injuries. Concussions are fairly prevalent in soccer as a result of contact/collision rather than purposeful attempts at heading the ball. Appropriate rule enforcement and emphasis on safe play can reduce the risk of soccer-related injuries.” (More information can be found on www.pediatirics.aapppublications.org).
Tips to Help Prevent Soccer Injuries can be found online at www.HealthyChildren.org. This includes wearing the right equipment including protective mouth guards and glasses or goggles made with polycarbonate or similar material, wearing shoes with cleats which provide grip as well as sufficient heel/arch support, and the site recommends participating in a preseason conditioning training. Rules of fair play should be adhered to. The site also recommends that the field conditions be observed, checking for holes or irregularities and that goal posts be secured to the ground at all times, even when not in use.
The HealthyChildren.org site also points out that, “The risk of head injury is comparable to other contact/collision sports, though evidence does not support repeated heading as a risk for short or long term cognitive issues. However, to reduce the risk of injury from heading the soccer ball, players should be taught proper heading technique at an appropriate age with an appropriate-sized ball. Excessive heading drills should be discouraged until more is known about the effects on the brain. Also, no recommendations regarding the use of helmets or cushioned pads to reduce head injury in soccer can be made at this time. More research and established safety standards and regulations are needed.”
Soccer is classified as a moderate to high intensity contact/collision sport with soccer-related injuries ranging from scrapes and bruises to more serious injuries like fractured bones, dislocated joints, eye injuries, neck and back injuries, knee injuries including ACL knee injuries, along with head injuries including concussions.
Our purpose in citing the risks and injuries inherent with playing soccer is not to scare the heck out of parents or to discourage parents from putting their kids into soccer; quite the opposite as we are soccer parents too! Our intention is to encourage parents to educate their children on the rules of fair play and to ensure their coach is doing the same.
Following the rules of Fair Play may help prevent injuries, according to the report which concluded that foul play was associated with a significant number of contact-related injuries. Accidental collisions happen, but “controlled physicality of the game with an emphasis on safe, respectful fair play may reduce the number of contact injuries,” as stated on the Healthy Children website. Rules of fair play should be reviewed on a regular basis and adequately enforced by parents and coaches. (Source; www.healthychildren.org)
If you or your child has sustained an injury arising from soccer or another sports accident, you or your child may be eligible for compensation from the at fault party. However, most sports leagues require the parents to sign a Waiver for injuries resulting from participating in the game. A careful review of the Waiver form and the facts of the accident will have to be undertaken to determine potential liability. At Futerman Partners LLP, our sports injury lawyers have over 35 years of successfully handling sports injury cases. Call Futerman Partners LLP today at 416-925-4100 for a free consultation with a Toronto sports injury lawyer.