Playing outdoor games and sports not only contributes to healthy physical and mental development, but it also acts as a training ground for facing adverse situations in life, including sudden injuries. Of all the games followed worldwide, soccer has always been a favorite.
So, do you or anyone you know enjoy soccer and keep getting injured a lot? Does it bother you about the impact of these sprains and tears in the long run? Are you an ardent soccer player getting injured in some of the most bizarre ways?
If your answers are in the affirmative, read on to know more about how to prevent soccer injuries.
Soccer injuries can mostly be divided by the broad areas in which they occur:
These are some of the most common injuries that occur with soccer players and athletes in general. Facial cuts, bruises, scratches, concussions, sprained necks are all part of damages in this area. Shocks should always be examined by trained medical practitioners s it involves changes in the athlete’s head as an effect of head trauma. But not all concussions include loss of consciousness.
Straining and spraining are some of the most common afflictions of this category even though sometimes cartilage injuries and ACL sprains are those that require surgery. Apart from these, contusions and fractures arising from direct blows and hits to the body are also common.
Physical proximity and playing tactics while on ground cause arm injuries, sprain, elbow pains and even dislocation. Wrist sprains and shoulder dislocation also fall under its ambit.
Overuse lower extremity injuries- If pain develops in your lower parts and doesn’t go away even after some days, it’s best to consult a doctor as it might be a stress fracture. Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, patellar tendinitis are some of the problems that result from over-stressing lower parts of the body.
While injuries and muscle sprains are common in sports, not all of them are benign and deserve to be overlooked. And some or most injuries occur no matter how thick was your knee pad. Learning to prevent soccer injuries goes a long way in attempting to prevent possibly life-threatening problems.
The ground on which you play is essential for more than just regular pitch awareness. Bad or unsuitable field conditions decide your chances of injuries against an otherwise standard ground on which you might have been used to practicing.
Always ask for fixed goal posts against mobile ones as the latter often tend to fall and cause grievous hurt. Sitting near goal posts, leaning on them or being around them when the ground or weather is unstable often create avoidable mishaps. Insisting on fixed goals go a long way in not just taking precautions but in also forging stronger teamwork.
Weather forecast and body adjustment- Paying attention to weather forecasts help in avoiding dietary and workout mistakes that could change the way how your body functions while the match is on.
Often under stress, athletes tend to keep on training for long hours. This extra stress before the critical days often keeps the body tense, and it becomes easier for injuries or sprains to occur. Listening to your body and adjusting your training time helps to maintain a balance. Do not give in to peer pressure when it comes to training and exercise.
Hydration and nutrition are essential for athletes. It not only decides the stamina factor, but it also selects the recovery capability and recovery time for the body. Stamina and recuperation are only possible when your body has been hydrated enough. Sweating causes rapid water loss, which is why it is always advised to be hydrated in some way or the other.
It’s important to take breaks even while you’re training. It won’t slow you down; rather it prepares the body to regain energy and continue for longer.
Soccer doesn’t allow for too much protective gear. So, make sure the minimum you can do is the best of quality and most appropriate for your situation. Wearing good quality shin pads, shoes with ribbed soles, and elbow gears are always a good idea, along with proper testing to ensure their efficacy.
Stretching is great for a warm-up, but did you know post-training stretching is equally essential? While cold muscles are prone to injuries, sore muscles after training are even more dangerous. No matter how tired you are, never skip stretching after your training is over.
Conditioning exercises- These exercises are especially important for players who are just beginning a new season or for kids who are just beginners. These exercises are useful in curbing the rate of injuries due to sudden jerks or hits.
While most players downplay or disregard mouth and facial injuries, as much as 30% of injuries affect the mouth and face. Not just disfigurement, but facial injuries can result in complications related to the eyes and ENT region as well. To prevent this chain reaction of events, using mouth guards will reduce the chances of their occurring at all.
Balls made from synthetic and non-absorbent materials don’t draw in water wet fields are wet and are, therefore, less influenced by weather changes. Leather balls grow heavy with moisture absorption and end up affecting player performance as well as affecting muscles that try to push it harder. These heavy balls cause grievous injury when players practice head shots or during the main game.
It’s important to limit the number of times one can participate during a season or during practice sessions to allow for enough time for recuperation and rest. It also prevents wearing away of muscles by overuse. Continuous exertion hampers performance as well as health.
Taking care of wounds before playing - It's important to notice any old cuts or injuries and take appropriate steps to cover or treat them before you go out on the field. This small preventive gesture goes a long way in diminishing the chances of continued infections or even gangrene.
Soccer injuries often occur because of inconsistent training practices. Try to maintain parity in your exercise and training modules throughout the year so that your body is conditioned to your moves. Don't change your schedule too many times or begin something new before your match.
Just as you listen to your body and its signals, it's essential to convey the same to your trainer. Sometimes your trainer would notice things which you are unable to because your focus is on the game. Apart from your immediate trainer, it’s also a good idea to involve all your current health practitioners such as your general physician and sports physician.
Soccer and games are about mutual respect and cooperation. Aggression on the field, though healthy to an extent leads to injuries on both sides of the team. Controlling aggression is not only beneficial for individual health but also guides to lesser kicks or head-butts to the opponent.
Apart from regular training and exercise routines, it's important to tell your trainers about including injury prevention programmes and tips to your workout schedule.
Menstrual health is essential in maintaining overall body health and stamina. It's essential to go for regular checks of the reproductive system and groin area, especially after a match or some time during your training and exercise routines to stay updated about your internal health system. Many women players overlook menstrual health or do not notice warning symptoms.
This is especially true for beginners and ones who are getting into the game after a long gap. This health assessment not only updates you about your health condition but it also lets you know about whether you’re fit to get into soccer.
It is always advisable to start playing soccer and other games at appropriate ages. And once you start, not every tackling method or step has to be taught right in the beginning. For example, using the head to balance balls or score goals should not be ideally taught before 10 or 12 years of age as brain tissues might get affected.
Several studies over the years have proved how soccer injuries can be avoided or even prevented if the correct set of methods can be followed. Health checkups, proper training, and diet mitigate conditions of injury, but apart from that, it’s also the endurance and timely management of injuries that affect how soccer injuries shape your health and change your life.
Not rushing into games or not listening to your trainers, doctors, physicians will only be detrimental for your health and could potentially prove to be fatal.