Youth: How Gender Affects Soccer Injuries

Oct 21, 2019

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

Whether male or female, we all go hard on the pitch. Those who play soccer to its fullest know, injuries are a part of the game. But while we’re all playing the same sport, we don’t all get the same injuries.

The disparity between anatomies and playing styles result in each gender being susceptible to different injuries. We’re taking a look at how gender affects injuries, as well as what you can do to reduce the risks to keep you on the field.

The Difference Between Male & Female Soccer Injuries

The main categories of injury between male and female soccer players are the same: musculotendinous injuries, contusions, concussions, fractures, and joint dislocations. But the body parts affected, the frequency and the severity of injuries differ. The main difference is that men get injured more often, but women tend to get more serious injuries.

The concussion rate among female soccer players is nearly double that of men. And they tend to suffer lower-body injuries more often. Serious injuries like ACL tears occur 4 times more often in women. Whereas men are more likely to face ankle sprains or strains.

The Most Common Soccer Injuries for Women

  • Ligament Sprains: 25.7%
  • Muscle Strains: 21.5%
  • Contusions: 15.9%
  • Concussions: 9.2%

According to a study, the most common sites of injury are the knee (31.8%) and the head (10.9%).

The Most Common Soccer Injuries for Men

  • Ligament Sprains: 12.2%
  • Hamstring Strains: 7.5%
  • Concussions: 5.5%
  • Groin Strains: 5.5%

According to the NCAA, the majority of male soccer injuries are non-serious, resulting in only 3-6 days off.

How to Reduce The Risk of Male & Female Soccer Injuries

Although men and women have tendencies towards different injuries, they do suffer from the same pool of injuries. Here we take a look at some of the more common and most severe ones and discuss how you can reduce the risks, so you can keep up your fearless play.

Men’s & Women’s Soccer Protective Gear

Protective soccer gear is essential for anyone who truly plays the game to its fullest. Bumps, slides, and dives are a part of the game for those who go all out. You can’t take the impact out of the game, but you can reduce the impact on your body.

The basics of men’s soccer protective gear start with the most frequent injuries. Sprained, strained, or rolled ankles are the most common issue. These often occur as a result of making a quick directional change. 

Upgrading your soccer cleats with SpeedGrip Insoles is a good way to add stability. As well as reducing slippage and risk of injury, you also improve responsiveness for an extra edge.

Padded sliding shorts, pants, and leggings also help to protect you from impact. As well as keeping you free of issues like turf burn. 

Women’s soccer protective gear makes use of similar padded and protected clothing to men’s gear. BodyShield crop tops also provide extra support and Extreme Impact Protection.

With the higher rate of injury to the lower body, it’s important to choose the right lower body protection system. In particular, look for products with optional knee guards to address the higher rate of knee injuries.

Soccer Headgear

Head injuries are the most concerning injury for all players. Although they are more common among women, they are an issue for any gender. Issues like concussions can have lasting effects and/or keep players sidelined. As a result, players of all skill levels are turning to soccer headgear.

Some recent studies have found that soccer headgear may reduce concussion risks. They are designed to reduce the force of impact from body-to-body collisions and even heading the ball. While there is no perfect solution against head injuries in soccer, soccer headgear is growing in popularity and may be a practical option for players and parents that prefer to play it safe.

The ExoShield Head Guard is the top-ranked ASTM-certified soccer headgear by Virginia Tech. The Virginia Tech Helmet Lab found it can decrease the risk of head injuries by 84%. The halo headband style also makes it comfortable, breathable, and lightweight. As well it leaves room for hair and doesn’t get in the way of play.

Avoiding Overuse

Reducing overuse is important in preventing soccer injuries and for keeping youth players healthy. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. We spend most of our time off the pitch, thinking about getting back on. But we also know the importance of rest.

Overtired and overstressed muscles leave you vulnerable to injuries. It can also diminish your gameplay. It’s important for coaches to cycle off tired players, and for players to learn their limits.

Focus on Technique & Conditioning

Proper technique makes a big difference in preventing injuries and improving gameplay. For instance, learning how to properly head a soccer ball doesn’t just reduce concussion risks. It also improves accuracy and control of the ball.

Practicing technique can also help reduce the risk of ACL injuries. For example, many injuries occur while transitioning or pivoting. Often, people pivot while standing straight. For a proper pivot, you should crouch with a bend at the knees and hips. This reduces the stress on your ACL.

Proper conditioning and strength training can provide further support for tendons like the ACL, reducing injury risks. Conditioning also reduces your body's risks of strains to your hamstring and groin. 

Protect Your Body & Protect Your Game

By protecting your body, you can help protect your game. Reliable, protective soccer gear maximizes your gameplay while reducing your risk of injury. So you can stay in the game and at the top of your game. 

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