How to Stop Soccer Head Injuries Before They Happen
Aug 11, 2023
Fall is coming, and with it comes youth soccer league season. With so many new players enjoying street soccer or playing with friends outdoors over the summer, many of those kids might just want to play in soccer leagues or organized youth leagues come fall.
As with all student athletes, parents with a child going into youth soccer leagues may be worried about injuries on the field. Head injuries in sports are a scary topic of discussion.
So what do you need to know about keeping your soccer-loving child safe? Should soccer players wear headgear to protect themselves from lasting injuries? This article discusses head injuries in youth soccer and how to prevent them.
The most common injuries in soccer
Parents will be relieved to hear that most injuries in soccer are to the lower extremities. The most common injury in soccer is a sprained ankle. Wearing proper shin guards is essential for a reason.
Many players are also injured in non-contact injuries, meaning they’re hurt because they’re not adequately warmed up or aren’t taking proper care of their bodies during and after play. Repetitive stress and non-contact injuries can be prevented with proper stretching, warm-up, and ensuring players take enough breaks and don’t over-train.
Goalies are also at increased risk of hand injuries. Much of this danger can be mitigated with proper gear, such as goalie gloves specially padded to protect the hands and wrists.
But soccer players are six times more likely to suffer a concussion than other high school sports players, and injuries are most common with teenage players. Why don’t players wear a soccer helmet?
Why head protection isn’t common in soccer
When things like soccer goalie jerseys and shin guards are common practice, it may be hard to understand why helmets aren’t required in soccer as in sports like hockey or baseball. For years, soccer helmets were under-researched and poorly designed. Many might have been concerned about the big, clunky helmets that were common in the past, and no child wants to be the only kid on the pitch wearing a big, dorky helmet.
Heavy helmets, they believed, could contribute to whiplash and make injuries worse. At best, they were largely ineffective. Change is hard. Most parents grew up playing soccer without headgear and are used to watching their friends and family play without helmets. They aren’t used to the new technological advances and how current soccer headgear is lightweight, unobtrusive, and much more comfortable to play in.
How soccer players and parents can prevent concussions
Awareness of head injuries in soccer is essential. Like preventing all injuries, proper coaching, training, and care is the number one way to protect players on the field. But proper technique on the field can only go so far. Even professional players get injured.
Wearing proper soccer headgear
New concussion helmets for soccer players are different. They’re lightweight and unobtrusive, protecting players from minor cuts, bruises, and more severe injuries without weighing down their play.
Concussions are a serious concern and can have lasting impacts on the lives of those injured. Recognizing this risk, scientists are starting to put the kind of study into soccer gear they have for football, hockey, and other contact sports.
One of those studies was conducted in 2018 by Virginia Tech and found that proper headgear can dramatically decrease the risk of head injuries on the field. Further studies found that top-rated headgear could reduce the incidence of severe head injuries in soccer players by up to 50 percent. Still, lower-rated headgear had little effect on the incidents of injuries. A number of the soccer helmets these studies examined weren’t actually helmets but instead headbands.
Increase head safety with Storelli
There’s no answer that will guarantee safety from concussions or other injuries in contact sports. But proper training and good practice on the field, along with wearing the right protective gear that offers the impact protection our young athletes need, can reduce risks significantly.
At the cutting edge of technology, the Storelli ExoShield Head Guard was top-rated in both studies, shown to reduce the relative risk of concussions by up to 50 percent to 60 percent. Sleek, comfortable, and easy to use, the Storelli Headguard remains the highest-rated headgear in soccer. Get the head guard for the soccer player or team in your life today.