Sep 29, 2021
Concussion avoidance and the consequences of getting a brain injury is probably something you give thought to nowadays.
The effects of a brain injury are frightening and yet we know so little about them. You might feel powerless to some degree, unsure how you can prevent an injury that doctors themselves are still learning so much about.
But concussion prevention, although not 100% foolproof, is highly possible thanks to an arsenal of tools and measures researchers know can work. Best of all, everyone involved in soccer ranging from players to league organizers can help.
Soccer Concussion Prevention Tips for Players
When soccer players take a hit to the head, they might often resume play without thinking about what has just happened to their brain. Unfortunately, many young athletes have suffered long-term damage because they pushed themselves too hard after unknowingly injuring their brains. Players who have an awareness of head impacts and their effects will make better decisions before (and after) getting hit.
- Wear concussion headgear to reduce the impact of head impacts
- Practice safe ball heading technique
- Improve visual awareness through vision exercises (can help avoid head collisions)
- Strengthen neck muscles (since stronger neck muscles absorb more impact force)
- Learn what the symptoms of a concussion feel and look like
- Get familiar with the concussion recovery protocol
- Keep aggressive play balanced
For young soccer players, concussion prevention involves plenty of conditioning and training, both technical and tactical, to help protect their bodies and minds.
Soccer Concussion Prevention Tips for Parents
Watching two players bash heads can send chills up your spine - even if they’re not your own kids. Instinct will tell you they need to sit out, but you might not know how to articulate your concerns to a coach or your child. Awareness of how concussions may arise can help you encourage safe play and swift action if they do get hit.
- Advocate for safe play in your child’s league
- Encourage your child to wear headgear if they’ve had a concussion
- Encourage safe play instead over aggressiveness
- Visit a healthcare provider if your child has hit their head for evaluation
- Learn what a concussion looks like and how it may affect your child off the field
- Monitor your child’s health after they’ve hit their head
- Don’t hesitate to place your child in a safe league if necessary
For parents of young soccer players, concussion prevention relies on having an awareness about brain injuries and being your child’s advocate both on and off the pitch.
Soccer Concussion Prevention Tips for Coaches
Coaches of soccer teams have to maintain a tough balancing act when it comes to managing their players. You want them to play with confidence and some aggression, but you also have to ensure that you’re not encouraging them to play in a way that could lead to brain injuries. That requires having a strong relationship with your players so you’re aware of their strengths and weaknesses. You also need to have an understanding of brain injuries themselves and how they can affect your players.
- Reduce the volume of headers and moves that may lead to head injuries
- Reduce the volume of playing time (overexertion can make players more injury prone)
- Sit your players out if you have any doubt (if they’ve sustained a hit to the head)
- Learn what a concussion looks like and what symptoms players may describe
- Look out for risky behaviours that may lead to head impacts
- Keep a watchful eye on players who have a history of concussions
- Educate players on concussion risks and foster a culture of safe play
For coaches of young soccer players, concussion prevention requires an emphasis on safety and proper management of team members.
Keeping Your Mind On Concussions
There is no perfect way or foolproof method to prevent concussions. Nevertheless, it’s possible to reduce the risk of sustaining a brain injury significantly. It takes a combination of efforts from players, parents, and coaches to keep the beautiful game safe, but it’s possible when everyone contributes to soccer safety. When everyone is onboard with concussion safety, we make it possible for talented young players to reach their full potential without sacrificing their health.