8 Tips to Keep Your Kid Safe this Soccer Season

09/18/2013

Calling all soccer moms!

Now that school is in session that means one thing is for sure: soccer season is around the corner. With all the news lately about proper safety precautions regarding your child and their soccer habit, I thought it’d be wise to write up some pointers to help you keep your child safe this soccer season!

#1: Recognize when it is more than just a boo boo

iStock/Thinkstock
Soccer should be fun for your child, not dangerous.

Because soccer involves physical contact with other players as well as the ground, common injuries include bumps, minor scrapes, bruises and pulled muscles (especially in the front and back of the thighs), ankle sprains, fractures (especially of the lower arms, wrists and fingers), as well as knee injuries.  Neck injuries and concussions are a major concern and may happen when players' heads bang together or hit the ground.

#2: Use your head – sometimes.

It is every parent's nightmare to see a child get injured, and with soccer, as with many sports, safety is key.

For starters, it is very important for your child to have a knowledgeable coach who can teach them the proper techniques. Additionally, "heading" of the ball in practice or games should not be stressed in youth soccer.

Here are some additional safety recommendations for your soccer child:

#3: Always warm up and stretch before the game. Dynamic stretching or calisthenics are always a good idea.

#4: Learn the right way to play from the get-go. As with all things, including when Mom attempts a head stand during yoga class, it’s imperative to use the right form. Without proper instruction injury is always a threat.

#5: Coaches should be knowledgeable and set realistic expectations. Soccer drills and practices for 16-year-olds should be much different than they are for 8-year-olds. Don’t allow your child to play for someone who could potentially push them too hard and allow them to get injured. Exercise the “Mom Knows Best” rule with this one.

#6: Tell your child to listen to their body. Teach your child not to play through pain. If they become injured, contact the family doctor immediately.

#7: Use proper equipment. Use only waterproof, synthetic balls instead of leather ones. Leather balls can become waterlogged and very heavy, making them dangerous for play. Also, use the appropriately sized ball for the age of the team.

#8: Wear appropriate safety equipment. This includes but is not limited to shock absorbent, anatomically shaped shin guards, during practice as well as the game.  Additionally, consider ankle supports, eye protection, and mouth guards if necessary.

And last but certainly not least, always be sure that your child is drinking enough water and be wary of any concussions or concussion like symptoms.

Good luck in your upcoming season, and stay safe, kids!


Dr. Rob believes in preventative and integrative approaches to medicine. He specializes in family medicine as well as children's health and wellness.
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