Soccer has taken a while to truly become a fan favorite sport in the United States. At the youth level, participation across the country is equal to, if not greater than, Little League. It has taken the American fan a while to understand that the beauty of the game outweighs high scoring matches.
However, as the U.S. sees more participation in the sport, injuries are beginning to grow, and more and more emergency rooms are seeing patients numbers increase. There is not one specific injury that stands out to doctors either.
Whether it is kids wanting to emulate the World Cup winning USWNT players or players in Major League Soccer, injuries can range from a stubbed toe, to broken bones, and concussions. So, what are parents supposed to do to help alleviate some of these injuries?
At a young age, kids should learn about soccer safety. Shin guards are really the main piece of safety equipment, except for the goalkeeper who will wear a padded jersey and gloves. Players who wear glasses should consider sports goggles to avoid unnecessary breaks. There is headgear available, but many purists believe that if a player pays attention, they should not need the headgear, and this protection will not do much for head to head contact.
Parents and athletes need to understand, there are going to be injuries. Shin to shin kicks, miss kicks, elbows, slide tackles, kicks to the body and head, and that hard kicked ball that seems to target the unsuspecting noggin of a player. Correct play in soccer would result in little to no injuries in soccer, but two players are always going to get to the ball at the same time, or a player may get injured trying to avoid contact. NBC News reported that most soccer injuries are due to collisions between players.
Teaching players from a young age the correct way to kick a ball, head a ball, and for goalkeepers, block shots, can help reduce injuries, but again, both parents and players need to realize, injuries are going to happen. As with any sport, players should have a sports physical done prior to playing.
Soccer is a beautiful game. To see how beautiful, take a look at the Portugal and U.S. match from the last Men’s World Cup. The U.S. looked to win the game until Cristiano Ronaldo passed the ball from the sideline, a good 40-50 yards from the goal, and placed it perfectly for a diving teammate to score a goal to tie the game with time running out.
Soccer is the biggest sport in the world. Every country has adopted it, but the U.S. adopted it much later than others, so they are far behind. However, soccer is a game that can be played anywhere there is a somewhat flat piece of land, and at least two people. In fact, there does not need to be two people. Juggling the ball, keeping it off the ground can keep a single player practicing for hours. Soccer has been played in river villages with a plastic bag on a doc, to snow covered fields in the Netherlands. It has brought people together who may have been trying to kill each other the day before. It truly is a beautiful game.
What do you think about the increase in soccer injuries in the U.S.? Is the game to violent or is it the lack of true knowledge of the game that the U.S. suffers from? Share your thoughts int he comments below. For more CDA News, follow our tweets on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
Commentary by Cletus Dillwood