In recent years, most of the concern for children’s sports injuries in the autumn has focused on football and the alarming findings about concussions.
However, another fall sport that’s growing in popularity for boys and girls alike should be on your radar for safety concerns: soccer.
A new comprehensive survey published in the journal Pediatrics reveals that the number of children injured while playing soccer is growing.
The study gathered data concerning children ages 7 to 17 who visited U.S. emergency departments for soccer-related injuries from 1990 to 2014. Authors found that the annual injury rate per 10,000 players increased by 111% over the study period.1 The injury rate grew faster than the overall growth rate of the sport.
The most frequent injuries from the survey were as follows:
- Sprain or strain—34%
- Fracture—23% (more likely in younger players)
- Abrasions or bruises—22%
- Concussions—7% (more likely in older players)
Most injuries occurred when someone was struck by another player or the ball, or by falling.
Two other important points were revealed by the study:
Although concussions accounted for just 7% of the total injuries, the annual rate of concussions skyrocketed up 1,600% over the course of the study. This stresses the importance of parents and coaches teaching kids about concussion prevention tactics and being very aware of the signs of a concussion.
Girls were more likely suffer a twisting injury to an ankle or knee than boys. This is consistent with other statistics that show women have a higher risk for knee injuries such as ACL tear than men.
The study has a drawback in that it only registered injuries for children who were brought into the emergency department, so injuries that were undetected or treated at home or during a regular doctor’s visit were not included.
Still, the survey offers insights that can help parents and coaches alike better protect kids who play soccer.
- Soccer-Related Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments: 1990–2014. Pediatrics. September 12, 2016. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-0346