Soccer Injury Prevention Tips for High School Athletes

Injury Prevention

By Demetris Delos, MD, sports medicine specialist at ONS

Playing on a high school sports team is a rite of passage for many American teenagers. Kids experience being part of a team effort all while staying active. Injury prevention is important to keep these kids on the field.

While the rate of injury has stayed relatively steady over the past few decades, there has been more attention paid to head injuries as well as ACL prevention methods.

Female soccer players are at higher risk for certain injuries on the field than their male counterparts. The rate of female ACL tears has been shown in studies to be 7-8X higher than the rate in males. Similarly, females are at higher risk for concussions and when they do sustain them, they tend to be more severe.

In high school soccer, injuries may be acute and traumatic or overuse types and can include strains and sprains, contusions or bruises, concussions and knee ligament injuries such as MCL and ACL tears.

While some students may stay active during the summer, they are likely not conditioning as much as they would be in-season.

Here are some tips to help prevent injuries for soccer players:

1. Build in time to warm up for the upcoming soccer season. Incorporate some level of training during the summer to put yourself in the best position to be as conditioned as possible for when pre-season starts.
2. Participate in an ACL injury prevention program. Simply put, this 10-15 minute regimen done prior to practice has been proven to drastically reduce the risk of ACL injuries by nearly 50%.
3. Ask your coach for proper techniques to protect your head and strengthen your neck. The nature of soccer, including headers, lends itself to head injuries such as concussions. Strengthening exercises may help minimize head trauma.
4. Talk to your physician about proper footwear for your home field, depending on if it is grass or turf, to prevent against ankle sprains.
5. Listen to your body. If you feel pain, stop. If you experience an injury, don’t rush back to the field too quickly. Work with a trainer and physician to create a return-to-play plan that allows your body to fully recover. Returning too soon can agitate the joints near your injury which previously were healthy.

About Dr. Demetris Delos
Dr. Delos is a sports medicine surgeon at Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists (ONS), specializing in knee, shoulder and elbow conditions. To schedule an appointment, please call (203) 869-1145 or click schedule appointment today.