New Study Finds Limited Risk in Youth Soccer

An article in the February, 2010 issue of Pediatrics (the official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) has reach some important conclusions about youth soccer.  Among them, there is no evidence that heading the ball leads to concussions.  You can read the whole report here: Injuries in Youth Soccer

First, soccer can provide a valuable component of fitness and physical activity strategies for young people.

Second, knee-injury risk-reduction programs seem promising, particularly for adolescent and collegiate female players. Research-validated programs are easily accessible at no cost on referenced Web sites.

Third, to reduce soccer-related fatalities, goalposts should be secured in a manner consistent with guidelines developed by the manufacturers and the CPSC.

Fourth, violent behavior and aggressive infractions of the rules tend to increase the risk of injury and should be strongly discouraged.

Fifth, data have been insufficient to link repetitive heading with permanent cognitive impairment. However, the AAP encourages heading of the ball to only be taught when the child is willing to learn proper technique and has developed coordinated use of his or her head, neck, and trunk to properly contract the neck muscles and contact the ball with the forehead.

Sixth, physicians are encouraged to be aware of and adhere to guidelines regarding the management of concussion and to help educate coaches and athletic trainers using available resources.

Finally, protective eyewear is recommended for all participants in soccer, because there is a risk of eye injury, and should be mandatory for athletes with only 1 functional eye or those with a past history of major eye surgery or trauma.

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