Tips for an Injury-Free Soccer Season

Dr. Kevin Plancher

Boys and girls playing high school soccer suffered similarly increasing rates of concussion, but unfortunately girls sustained higher rates of ACL/MCL ligament sprains than boys, who were more likely to sustain fractures.

September 2017 – A new school year means soccer season is well underway, with nearly a million American high school girls and boys participating in the world’s most popular sport. But all of them – and especially girls, who are prone to season ending knee ACL tears – should take steps to prevent common injuries that can cut into their time on the field, according to orthopaedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, MD, founder of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Nearly 400,000 girls played high school soccer in 2015-16 in the United States, according to national figures, comprising about 40% of the total for both genders. Participation continues to climb each year, but so do injuries resulting from this rough-and-tumble sport. Tracking a nationally representative sample of 100 schools in the U.S., a March 2017 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine estimated that 3.38 million high school soccer injuries took place over the 10-year study period.

Boys and girls playing high school soccer suffered similarly increasing rates of concussion, but unfortunately girls sustained higher rates of ACL/MCL ligament sprains than boys, who were more likely to sustain fractures, the study found.

“This recent research shows that most injuries for boys and girls resulted in staying off the field less than a week, but nearly 7% resulted in waiting more than 3 weeks before returning to play,” Dr. Plancher noted. “The findings demonstrate exactly why preventing soccer injuries is so important in the first place.”

Common high school soccer injuries – especially among girls

What are the most common soccer injuries? Among both high school boys and girls, the list is topped by ligament sprains (nearly 30%), concussion (nearly 18%) and muscle strains (16%), the 2017 study found. Of the injuries resulting in a loss of play for 3 weeks or more, the 3 most common injuries among girls were knee sprains (26%), concussions (22%) and ankle sprains (13%). Among…

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