Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, with 25 million children participating every year. While these kids are becoming fit and active, as well as developing cooperation and leadership skills, they are also subject to certain risks. The American Academy of Pediatrics, based in Elk Grove Village, reported in its journal, Pediatrics, that record numbers of children are being sent to the emergency room due to soccer-related injuries.
The study, which was conducted from 2000 to 2014, reports that approximately 3 million children between ages seven and 17 went to emergency rooms in the U.S. for soccer injuries during that time period. That amounts to approximately 120,000 annually.
Concussions in soccer are becoming increasingly prevalent. In 1990, there were just under two concussions reported per 10,000 players. In 2013, that number increased to nearly 30 concussions per 10,000 players.
The higher number of reported concussions as of recently are suspected to be the result of increased awareness of the effects of concussions, especially on developing brains. Many concussions and head injuries are diagnosed simply because it seems more necessary than ever to see a doctor following a hard hit to the head.
Even with such high statistics, concussions only account for seven percent of all soccer-related injuries. Most injuries accounted for were fractures, sprains, and soft tissue injuries.
Between outdoor and indoor seasonal leagues and developmental club teams, many children participate in soccer year-round as well. Because these kids are exerting more energy and putting more frequent stress on their bodies, it is more likely for them to injure themselves from overuse of certain muscles or from becoming too tired.
Unfortunately, the study did not gather information about how many hours each player trained, whether they were injured in practice or a match, and only accounted for hospital-reported injuries, eliminating injuries that may have been treated by primary care physicians or urgent care facilities.