Youth: How to Prevent Common Goalkeeper Injuries

Nov 23, 2020

*This article is part of an educational series for soccer parents and players new to soccer*

Goalkeeping is a challenging and exciting position. Unfortunately, it is not without its risks. Goalkeepers are at risk of many injuries due to their movements, contact with the ball and location. Here we look at some of the most common goalkeeper injuries and recommend the best protective gear to help prevent them.

Shoulder and Arm Injuries

Shoulder and Arm Injuries are very common for goalkeepers. Falls from blocking shots or from being hit by another player can injure joints and tear ligaments. The most common soccer shoulder injuries include Acromioclavicular joint injury, Clavicle fracture (Broken Collarbone), Glenoid Labral Tears.

  • Padded long-sleeve shirts can offer protection and support to your chest and arms from the impact of falls and collisions. These long sleeve shirts can also reduce the sting from stopping balls and help protect your skin from grass and stones from a fall. 

Shin Injuries

Shin injuries and tibia fractures are widespread for all soccer players, including goalkeepers. Goalkeepers can easily injure their skins from kicks, ball impact and player collisions. Shins are very sensitive and vulnerable to fractures.

  • Shin guards are mandatory for all soccer players, including goalkeepers. Shin guards help protect shins from bruising and properly fitted decrease the force of the impact. 

Hip and Groin Injuries

Groin strains are common in soccer, and goalkeepers are also prone to these types of injury dues to slipping and sliding and falls. Ball impact to the groin area is another common injury for goalkeepers.

  • Soccer leggings - Padded leggings can help reduce the impact of falls on hips and legs. They can also protect against turf burn. Genital protectors are also crucial protective equipment. 

Concussions and Head Injuries

Recent studies have shown that female soccer players are at high risk for head injuries and concussion while playing soccer. These injuries are also common for goalkeepers. 

Tooth Injuries - As much as 30% of all soccer injuries are to the face or teeth, resulting in lost teeth, tooth fractures and facial injury.

  • Head Guards - protective goalkeeper helmet for soccer can reduce the impact of collisions and help prevent concussions. 
  • Mouth Guards - mouthguards prevent injury to the face, teeth and jaw and can also reduce the severity of concussions. Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend a sports mouth guard for soccer.

Elbow, Knee and Ankle Injuries

Goalkeepers are very likely to injure an elbow or knee while playing soccer. These injuries come from dives to save a ball, improper falls, or unexpected shots or collisions with other players. Landing on an elbow can dislocate it, and a hard kick to the knees can cause dislocation or even broken cartilage. 

Ankle sprains are also extremely common injuries for goalkeepers. Jumping, running and blocking shots can easily result in landing and twisting an ankle. 

  • Arm Guards and Knee Guards with elbow and knee padding can reduce the risk of injuries by absorbing up to 90% of the impact. They can also stop turf burn.
  • Ankle Support - Ankle supports help protect against twisted or sprained ankles by supporting your muscles and ligaments. 

Hand and Finger Injuries

A common goalkeeper injury is a jammed finger or hand sprain, or fracture. These injuries can be the result of stopping the ball, collisions with other players or landing on outstretched hands, making a save. 

  • Goalkeeper Gloves - These soccer goalie gloves can reduce the risk of injury to your hands and protect your fingers. These soccer goalkeeper gloves also give you better grip and traction and can help you stop the ball. 

The job of a goalkeeper is an important one and a rewarding one. Be sure to wear proper protective gear for soccer goalie protection so you can avoid injury and stay safe playing the game you love.

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