I get miffed when I take my kids to the doctor and they routinely ask them if there are guns in the house, do you feel safe, do you wear a bike helmet, are your being threatened, do you run with scissors, etc. Hey! I just came in because my son has an earache!
So why don’t they ask if he plays soccer? That’s pretty dangerous and I’m probably held liable for that, too.
My kids have had concussions, meniscus tears, sprained ankles and bruised bones. All from playing town and club soccer. Should I pull them from soccer for their own safety?
You can live a very healthy life with a repaired meniscus and or ACL; you may have arthritis earlier in life or not be able to run long distance when you’re older but, for the most part, they are not going to affect your quality of life by a great deal.
Concussions from soccer? Well, that’s a different story altogether.
It’s estimated, by The Centers for Disease Control, that more than 10,000 children each year go to the emergency room every year for soccer-related brain injuries.
My kids have been playing soccer from a very early age – which is rather typical of a soccer family. They’ve swam, danced and played softball, lacrosse and basketball. Their one constant, though, has been soccer. They love it and we enjoy watching them play.
Each of them has grown in the sport of soccer and every year get a little bit better though none are superstars. They get plenty of exercise as it goes pretty much eleven months out of the year – then there’s Futsal!
The older they get and the more advanced teams they play the games get very physical and the level of injuries has definitely shot up as the years progressed. Concussions and ACL tears are what we are seeing most. Soccer is a contact sport – right up there with football and hockey. There is only so much you can do to protect your rug rats so you do the best you can.
Most of the concussions from soccer are from head-to-head collisions, hitting the ground hard and repeatedly heading the ball.
Each time I see my 16 year old girl head the ball on her club team I simply cringe and do the same for any other player as well. The ball flies in the air for thirty yards on a 40 degree day only to land on a “soft” head to change direction and hopefully give the player and advantage. Advantage?? Don’t think so.
These repeated heading of the ball can cause brain injury – plain and simple (see Dangers of Heading Soccer Ball). Even if your kid does not experience the signs of a concussion after the game all these heading may lead to brain damage. Many medical professionals are advocating eliminating heading the soccer ball altogether but very few soccer programs are actually following up on this.
So pull your kid from soccer?
Not us. I think the benefits of my kids playing soccer outweigh the risks. If the kids want to move on to another sport that’s OK with us but we want them to experience the same benefits – physical and mental exercise, playing with/for a team, listening to authority, showing up for each practice and game on time and ready to go, exercised, eating properly to fuel their body, etc.
We also educate them on taking care of their bodies and playing properly. If they need to head the ball (which we discourage anyway but really depends on the coach!), there are proven ways to do it properly in an attempt to minimize the impact. SEE MORE: 5 Tips on How to Head a Soccer Ball
Our kids play tough and are hard workers on and off the field. They have tons of fun with their teammates and are getting much-needed exercise and learning many lessons from peers and coaches – I’m content as long as they are having fun and staying out of trouble.