Soccer (or football) is arguably the most popular sport in the world. With the largest worldwide soccer tournament less than a week away, we’re taking a look at the most common soccer-related injuries and how to prevent them.
Hands-down the most common injury from soccer is a sprained ankle. Between running with the ball, maneuvering around opposing players or even being kicked by them, this is not a surprise. And while a sprained ankle might sideline you, it’s important to give it enough time to heal before getting back on the field.
Knee injuries are also common in soccer and often more severe. One of the most dreaded knee injuries soccer players can experience is a tear in their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) near the knee. According to FIFA, seventy per cent of all ACL injuries happen without contact with another player. An injury like a torn ACL could require surgery to repair.
Moving up from the knee, hamstring (the muscle group in the back of your thigh) injuries are fairly typical, especially for players in positions that require sprinting or sudden acceleration like forward and midfield. Injuries can range for a more mild pull to a more serious tear.
So how do you prevent injuries on the soccer field? Proper warm ups are crucial. Making sure your muscles are stretched out and limber is key to preventing pulls and tears. FIFA has created a soccer warm up program designed specifically to help reduce the risk of injury on the field.
Staying active in the off-season and gradually working up to peak performance is another way to avoid injury. Injuries are much more likely for players who have not trained or played for a period of time. If you’ve been out of the game for a while, ease back into it. Work on your conditioning and strength training as you gradually get back into full contact soccer. On that same note, do not overtrain. Many injuries come from overuse, particularly in young players. If you are starting to feel worn down, listen to your body and take some time off. Taking one season off could help you extend your soccer career by many more seasons.