How We're Addressing the Gender Gap in Women's Soccer Injuries
Feb 15, 2023
Women’s soccer has been neglected in many ways, ranging from pay grades to media coverage. But the most concerning form of neglect can be seen in how we treat injuries in women’s soccer and research around those injuries. The tables are slowly turning, but “slowly” is the operative word, and that’s why we need a more accelerated response to addressing women’s injuries in the sport. This post will highlight how Storelli addresses the injury prevention and research gap.
Stats and facts on girls’ and women’s injuries in soccer
We’ll call it the way we see it—women’s health and safety are not prioritized. Think about it. The majority of research coming out on soccer injuries focuses mainly on how it affects male players. The issue is that injuries don’t affect genders with the same frequency and consequences.
Research on how injuries affect female players has only emerged over the last decade. And, of course, the data is troubling.
Girls’ and women’s injury risk stats
- Female players are twice as likely to suffer a concussion than males
- High school girls suffer 8.4 concussions per 10,000 practices and games, the second highest concussion rate for ALL sports (behind boys' football)
- Approximately 18 percent of soccer concussions in high school girls happened while a ball struck their head, and 22 percent of concussions happened while girls defended the ball
- Women are six times more likely to sustain an ACL injury than men
- Women are more likely to get turf burn injuries (since they’re often restricted to artificial turf).
The injuries themselves aren’t unfair—unless we’re talking about nature—they are what they are. For women, smaller neck muscles increase concussion risks, while wider hips and hormonal profiles increase leg injury risk.
But, of course, you have the artificial turf issue (which is changing), where women are forced to play on turf, which is a reason for higher turf burn injury risks. The real problem is the lack of attention, effort, and resources to understand these injuries and reduce their occurrence.
How we’re addressing women’s soccer injuries
The lack of recognition girls’ and women’s soccer injuries receive is why we’ve created products and resources to empower female players. We take abstract and obscure research papers and turn them into digestible info and physical solutions to address injuries. There’s still lots of ground to cover and insights to learn, but we’re getting the ball rolling nonetheless.
Women-specific protective gear
- BodyShield Crop Top—A chest protector that contains impact-protecting material, shielding women from breast injuries.
- Women’s BodyShield Goalkeeper Undershirt—Goalkeeper undershirts designed specifically to fit the dimensions of female players.
- Women’s BodyShield Legwear—Leggings and shorts designed specifically for women feature padding to reduce the impact of blows and falls, which may exacerbate leg injuries.
Our ExoShield concussion headguard isn’t designed specifically for women, but we recommend that girls and women wear it more urgently than men. It protects against g-forces and impacts that may result in concussions by 50 percent and 84 percent, respectively.
Providing knowledge and resources
- Why Concussions in Soccer Affect Girls Differently than Boys
- A Curated Link Guide for Women's Soccer Injuries
- 4 Types of ACL Injuries Women Soccer Players Should Know
- Talking to Bethany Balcer About Concussion Safety
- How Women Can Prevent Hyperextended Knees in Soccer
We’ve written many more articles about women’s soccer injuries and how to prevent them, which you can find on our blog. We know empowering female players with knowledge about injuries is just as important as wearing gear to reduce their risks.
When it comes to soccer injuries, the ball is in our court
We can’t change the way the research on women’s soccer injuries is conducted, or the way leagues address them. Nevertheless, we can still support players. We’ve made it our goal to protect soccer players from injury for over a decade, including the talented women who play footy. Major soccer leagues and the scientific community have some catching up to do—us too. But we’re making every effort to be the change we want to see in women’s soccer.Looking for women’s protective gear? Browse our selection of apparel and accessories designed specifically for women.