Youth: A Look at Impact Protection Gear in Soccer & Why Players Should Wear It

Jun 11, 2020

There exists a misconception that soccer is a “soft” sport in terms of physicality. But the opposite is true. Players collide with each other, fall on hard turf, and sustain repeated head impacts from the ball. 

Protecting players with impact-reducing gear preserves their muscle and bone health in later years. This article highlights impact protection technology and the gear soccer players should wear that incorporates this technology. 

Where Soccer Players Are Most Vulnerable to Impacts

Soccer may not have the full-on body checks of hockey or the brutal tackles of football, but it’s by no means a “soft” sport. A player can easily walk off the field with cuts and bruises or unsightly and unpleasant turf burn injuries

But those are just surface-level injuries, of course. 

Sprains, strains, fractures, and trauma can affect any player who sustains a hard impact - which happen all the time. There are hard impacts from falls, sliding tackles, head-to-head collisions and heading the ball. Among the more serious soccer injuries are: 

  • Concussions (and brain injuries)
  • ACL injuries
  • Meniscus tears 
  • Shin injuries
  • Bone fractures

  • These injuries often occur due to high-impact forces or repeated low-impact forces that “add up” and cause residual damage. For example, the velocity and impact of a soccer ball speeding through the air and hitting the skull. 

    The ball can reach speeds of anywhere between 60 miles per hour (96.5 km/h) to 85.13 miles per hour (137 km/h). Heading a goal kick at such speeds packs a punch - 100 - 150gs (g-forces) to the skull, putting it on par with the force generated by a football tackle. The concussion threshold, where injuries begin, is around 95gs. 

    Also, sliding tackles can be a significant source of impact forces, especially from certain angles. One research paper notes that players who are tackled from the side are 3 times likely to suffer a contusion as opposed to being tackled from behind. 

    Impact Protection Gear - Your Secret Weapon Against Hard Knocks in Soccer

    Players wear shin guards, some wear mouth guards but there really isn’t much attention given to soccer protective gear beyond. Which is a shame because impact protection technology exists to reduce the effects of hard hits. Here at Storelli, we’ve implemented this technology in much of our apparel and equipment. 

    A patented technology, this thin, breathable and lightweight material absorbs up to 90% of the energy created by high impacts. The design withstands repeated shocks, making for extremely durable, long-term protection for players. It also contains some additional benefits such as antimicrobial protection and memory-like foam for players’ comfort. You can find this technology in many of our products including our: 

  • Sleeveless undershirts
  • Undershirts with sleeves
  • Padded jerseys
  • Padded sliding shorts
  • Padded goalie pants
  • Padded goalie leggings

  • Hard hits and impacts are an unavoidable part of the game. But the damage they may lead to is manageable. This impact protection gear may reduce the force of soccer’s hardest hits and limit the strain of repetitive impacts. That means fewer injuries and greater longevity for very young, older, or injury-prone players. 

    If you’ve been following our blog or mentions of us in the headlines for a while, you’ll know that we’re strong advocates for soccer headgear. When it comes to soccer protective gear, we like to focus on headgear because research is now starting to show how serious and traumatic concussions can be for soccer players. Even though lower body injuries are common, head injuries are more damaging. 

    With that said, we built our ExoShield head guard with the hope of offering players a lifeline against the worst effects of concussions. It contains impact protection like the other products mentioned above, and it may reduce g-forces to the head by 50%. It’s also fitted with Team Wendy® Zorbium® Foam, which is used in the armors of the helmets of the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps. 

    This foam protects soldiers against head injuries caused by falls, collisions, high energy blasts and ballistics. That extra “padding” (to put it lightly) is the reason why Virginia Tech’s Helmet Lab found our headgear to have the highest potential of possibly reducing a concussion’s effects. 

    True, there is no sure way to prevent a concussion. Nevertheless, we think youth and high-risk athletes should take any steps that reduce the risk of head injuries. Even a slight reduction may protect an athlete from a concussion’s more devastating effects. 

    A Sport of (Surprisingly) Hard Knocks

    Soccer players and parents shouldn’t underestimate the physicality of the sport. Yes, it’s the “beautiful game” but even in its finesse, injuries can get ugly if players don’t protect themselves with the best gear. 

    Fortunately, with impact protection gear being available on the market, players can avoid the worst that soccer injuries may bring. This gives them the confidence to step on the pitch and give their all to their performance—without the distraction of potential injuries.

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