10 Interesting Facts About Lower Body Injuries in Youth Soccer
1. In youth soccer, most lower body injuries come from non-body contact and occur more in competition than training or practice sessions. While training injury incidence rates usually do not change with increased player age, match injury incidence tends to increase with age through all age groups
2. The time of the adolescent growth spurt (girls usually age 12-14 and boys usually age 13-16) seems to have an increased vulnerability for traumatic injuries. Afterwards athletes seem to be susceptible to cumulative overuse injuries.
3. Knee injuries occur in 7% to 36% of injured players and are seen more frequently in females Middle school soccer playing females have a higher rate of anterior knee pain issues than volleyball or basketball players. Any single-sport adolescent female has a higher risk of anterior knee pain issues.
4. Adolescent female soccer players suffer a roughly 3-6 times increased risk of ACL rupture compared to boys playing the same sport. Several factors have been proposed for the increased risk, such as anatomic differences, hormonal contributions with menstrual cycles, and higher-risk single-leg landing, turning, and jumping positions.
5. Female adolescent players who completed certain Neuromuscular Training Programs intended to reduce knee injuries have been shown enjoy significantly reduced ACL injury rate compared with players with low compliance.
6. Ankle injuries account for 16% to 29% of injuries and are more frequent in male and older players Ankle contusions more common in younger players due to the more ground-oriented game, while in older players ankle sprain tend to occur due to the more aggressive and faster game.
7. Taller players are more likely report more overall injuries than shorter players, and more apt to suffer knee injuries often by playing more physically demanding positions with jumping and abrupt turning.
9. Greater exposure to training and competition leads to a greater risk of injury due to the high intensity of the activities.
10. The higher incidence of injury during matches than training highlights the need for education and prevention programs in youth soccer. These programs should focus on coach education aimed at improving skills, techniques, and fair play during competitions with the goal of reducing injuries.
What ideas do I have to help reduce these risks?
- Find ways to make evidence-based injury prevention programs standard practice for all young players
- Ensure proper Certified Athletic Trainer or other medical coverage
- Place large emphasis on fair play and rule enforcement
- Caution with players tending toward year-round or single-sport emphasis at/near their peak growth periods
What ideas would you add to help young soccer players reduce lower body injuries?