Every year, hundreds of children and teens play on an organized soccer team. The Montreal Children’s Hospital Trauma Centre sees over 600 soccer related injuries per year. Common injuries sustained in soccer are broken bones , sprains and concussions.
Equipment use and safe environment
- Wear properly fitting footwear appropriate for the playing surface. Do not wear flip flops or sandals.
- Wear properly fitting shin guards. Shin guards help absorb the shock from the ball, the ground, the goal post, and a kick to the shin.
- Wear a properly fitted mouth guard to protect your gums and teeth.
- Make sure that soccer nets are well maintained and properly anchored.
- Never hang from the goal posts as the net can fall forward and you can be pinned underneath. Adult supervision is recommended.
- Soccer balls should be properly inflated and water resistant. A soggy ball may cause a greater impact to body parts.
- Coaches and officials should check the field before practices and games. They should be regularly maintained and free of hazardous objects such as broken glass or sharp rocks.
- Keep first aid equipment nearby at all times.
- Be aware of playing conditions. In hot weather, be sure to use sunscreen to protect the skin and to drink water before, during and after play. Don’t play if lightning is present.
- Work to improve your fitness. Injuries often occur due to poor conditioning.
- Warm-up and stretch before a practice or a game. Improved flexibility may help prevent injuries. "The 11+" from FIFA's Medical Assessment and Research Centre provides a complete soccer-specific warm-up.
- Cool down after a practice or a game.
- Practice your skills and use proper techniques. This helps you be a quicker and better player.
According to ThinkFirst Canada, heading the ball should not be introduced before the player is 10 - 12 years of age. However, the player’s size, skill and level of play must be considered.
- Heading a ball must be done with the proper technique and instructed by a qualified coach.
- Listen to your coach’s safety recommendations to avoid being injured and to avoid causing an injury to another player.
- Stay alert. Stay sharp. Stay focused.
Everyone’s role is key in encouraging sportsmanship and ensuring that a fun and positive experience is had by all.
- Demonstrate a positive attitude and work together as a team.
- Know and respect the rules at all times.
- Respect the sport, yourself, teammates, opponents and officials.
- Encourage and promote team work. Set a positive example.
- There should be zero tolerance towards intentional violence.
- Coaches should be certified and officials should be qualified to teach players about dangerous situations.
- Rules must always be enforced.
Don't play injured
- Pay attention to early signs of injury.
- Never play through an injury.
- Seek medical attention immediately when an injury is suspected.
- Respect the recommendations and activity restrictions prescribed to ensure a full recovery.
- Return to soccer only once fully recovered. Your return to play should be gradual to ensure you are physically and mentally ready to play and to avoid re-injury. Click, Returning to sports after an injury.