Whether you are a beginner or a skilled soccer player, it’s important to know the potential injury risks you face when on the field. Let’s take a look at the most common injuries for male soccer players.

A sprained ankle is the most common injury for male soccer players and accounts for 17% of all injuries in both games and practices. Read All About Ankle Sprains and Strains

Researchers reviewed 15 years of injury surveillance data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and found that the risk for injury changes depending on if it’s practice or a game1:

  • The injury rate during games was 4 times higher than during practices.
  • Game injuries were often contact injuries between players, while practice injuries were often not.
  • In both games and practices, more than 60% of injuries were in the lower extremities.

Here are the 5 most-common injuries for male soccer players:

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The most common injury: ankle sprain

A sprained ankle is the most common injury for male soccer players and accounts for 17% of all injuries in both games and practices, according to the study. Ankle sprains are often caused when you make a sudden stop or change of direction, causing the ankle to twist unnaturally.

See Ankle Sprain and Strain Risk Factors

Ankle sprains can usually be treated by following the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevate) protocol. However, ankles that have not thoroughly healed are vulnerable to re-sprains. Recurrent ankle sprains accounted for 24% of the total sprains in the survey.

See Ankle Sprain and Strain Treatment Options

Other top soccer injuries for men

There are clear trends for other types of injuries that male soccer players are prone to. All of these injuries rank in the top 5 of injuries that were experienced either in practice or games:

The researchers concluded by noting that, since player contact accounted for a majority of the injuries during soccer games, the best way to prevent these injuries is to make sure the rules around aggressive game moves like charging and tackling—particularly slide tackling—are followed and enforced.

Learn more:

Ankle Anatomy: Muscles and Ligaments

A Pain in the Butt: 5 Signs of Chronic Hamstring Tendinopathy

References:

  1. Agel J, Evans TA, Dick R, Putukian M, Marshall SW. Descriptive epidemiology of collegiate men's soccer injuries: National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System, 1988-1989 through 2002-2003. J Athl Train. 2007;42(2):270–277.
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