Preventing Youth Soccer Injuries | How to Keep Your Kids Safe
Youth sports are a great way to both keep kids in shape and teach them the values of leadership and cooperation. Still, things can quickly go awry if the right safety precautions aren’t followed. The numbers bear this out: according to a study done by Stanford Children’s Health, over 3.5 million children 14 and under end up getting injured playing sports every year, and 750,000 of them end up in the hospital. Youth soccer injuries, as you can imagine, comprise a high percentage of these numbers.
The good news is that with some preparation, common sense and foresight, you can keep your kids pain-free and playing at their best. Read on to learn more about keeping kids safe while playing soccer.
The Worst Offenders
Some scrapes are going to be more common—and more detrimental—than others. Consider that 88,000 children were hospitalized in 2009 for soccer snafus. Children’s Hospital Colorado found that the most common youth soccer injuries they treated were
- Hip Flexor Tendonitis, which describes a soreness and painful swelling of the thigh caused by strain or trauma to the hip muscles. This ailment can make it difficult even to walk, much less run or kick a ball.
- ACL Tear, a notorious knee injury sports world most often caused by rapidly shifting directions mid-run, putting significant pressure on the knee joint. This can cause damage not just to the ligaments but the rest of the knee as well if not treated quickly and carefully.
- Ankle Sprain, which is by far the most commonly treated condition when it comes to youth soccer injuries. These occur when the ligaments in your ankle stretch and tear into an unnatural position for them. While less debilitating than some other ailments, they’re still very painful and can cause kids to have to sit out games they’d rather be playing.
Better Safe Than Sorry
While soccer injuries are common, they’re definitely not inevitable. There are a couple of things you can do to make sure your little ones keep scoring goals safely.
First, always make sure your kids are doing the proper stretches and cool-downs before they hit the field. Some kids have a tendency to blow through this part because they think warm-ups aren’t important. Make sure you drill it into your young athletes that not only will stretching keep them from hurting themselves, but it’ll help them play better too. Youth soccer injuries can further be mitigated by ensuring that your kids stay hydrated, which will keep their muscles flexible.
A less obvious but just as important a way to ensure safety is to make sure your equipment and the field you play on are both well maintained. Prepare the field by making sure it’s free of detritus that could cause a trip, and use synthetic balls, as opposed to leather ones so that they don’t get heavy from rainwater and increase the risk of injury. You should also always make sure the goal posts are padded and secured, preventing unnecessary youth soccer injuries from a dangerous goal collapse.
Treating Their Injuries
But let’s say your kid is already laid up from a soccer mishap, either from roughhousing or from outdated equipment or some combination of the two. There are a few things you can do to help them get ready to score some goals again in no time flat.
It’s completely safe and very beneficial for your child to do light exercises after they’ve been hurt, such as swimming and gentle aerobics. This will reconstitute their muscles and get them used to motion again, as well as strengthen them to stop further youth soccer injuries from occurring.
Hydrotherapy can also be a fantastic way to speed along their recovery. Cold water immersion (CWI) has been known to greatly speed along muscle recovery in young athletes. Contrast baths, in which the affected body parts are alternately bathed in cold and hot water over periods of a couple of minutes each, are great ways to reduce soreness and inflammation.
Hydrotherapy is a consistently evolving medical treatment field, so ask a doctor to hear about some of the latest developments and figure out what method might work best for your child.
Finally, we offer a range of pediatric braces that can work wonders for getting past youth soccer injuries. Since they help reduce friction and stabilize joints, they can be used to help prevent harm in the first place and also aid the recovery process. Our braces are comfortable and flexible, and many are designed to fit almost any size of child and help with any degree of injury.
Keeping Healthy and Staying Safe
Any sport your child gets involved with is going to carry certain safety risks, and soccer is no exception. But getting hurt doesn’t have to be part and parcel with playing the game. You can take steps to decrease the chances and severity of youth soccer injuries with simple stretches and by making sure the field and your equipment are up to date. If your child still does happen to get hurt. there are all kinds of therapies and treatments that’ll make sure they won’t have to stay out of the game for too long.
If you want to keep your young athlete safe on the field, check out our world-class line of soccer braces. No one likes dealing with youth soccer injuries, least of all the kids themselves, and we’ve got products available that’ll help ensure they never have to deal with them. Get your champion off the bench and back in the game again.