Soccer is an excellent sport to improve speed and agility, build endurance, and remain fit. However, soccer being a 'contact sport', can give rise to a number of injuries. While some of these injuries might be minor and can heal on their own, some can be quite severe, and in some cases, may even prove life-threatening. On the whole, these injuries can be of two types: acute/traumatic injuries and cumulative/overuse injuries. Let us delve further into the common injuries involved with soccer and how to avoid them.
Mostly soccer injuries are associated with the ankle, knees, and hip region. The players also tend to injure the lower leg, upper leg, and head quite often. Some of the common injuries are:
- Muscle-tendon injuries
- Knee injuries
- Meniscus tears
- Muscle cramps
- Achilles tendonitis
- Ligament tears
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Muscular strains
Overuse injuries also known as cumulative trauma disorder, occur due to cumulative stress on the muscles, joints, and soft tissues. These injuries are characterized by mild pain, which might become severe later. Since physical contact with other players is unavoidable in soccer, there is an increased risk of collision injuries.
Head-to-head contact with another player, heading the ball, being struck by a ball, and falls are common reasons for injuries. Head injuries are quite serious and may cause damage to the eyes, teeth, and brain. Concussions can also occur due to repetitive heading of the ball and/or collision with another player or a goal post. Repeated heading of the ball may cause chronic brain injury.
Muscle strains are also quite common. They mainly affect hamstrings, groin muscles, and quadriceps. Constant stop-and-go movements or long strides can also result into strain.
Sprains can occur due to sudden stops or an abrupt change in body's direction during the course of game. Fractures in the lower region of the body are also very common in soccer players. Fractures can occur due to contact with other players or falls. Knee injuries can also occur due to sudden starts and stops while playing.
The condition of the field, where the sport is being played can also be responsible for injuries. The field surface can be of gravel, grass, or artificial turf. If the playground surface is uneven or slippery, it could lead to fall injuries.
Soccer injuries can be serious at times, as a result of which the player may have to face long-term consequences. Hence precautions should be taken to prevent such injuries. Some of these are given below.
- Warming up before the game is important to avoid unnecessary strain.
- Warm-up increases your body's temperature and prepares your body for physical activity.
- Stretching exercises are very important for your thighs, knees, hips, and calf muscles, so that the muscles become relaxed before the game.
- Enough knowledge about basic first aid is also a must.
- Being prepared and fully equipped for emergency situations is also a necessity.
- Shin guards should be worn at all times on the field, to protect the lower legs.
These are some basic precautionary measures that should be taken to reduce the chances of getting injured on the field. Any kind of pain, in any part of the body should not be ignored, as it might lead to long-term damage. Also, in case of any injury proper medical attention should be sought, so that it does not culminate into something very serious.