Study Examining Youth Sports Injuries On The Soccer Field Have More Than Doubled In Nearly 25 Years As The Sport Gained Popularity In The United States.
Soccer has become a popular international sport enjoyed by both adults and youth. Unfortunately, so is the increase of children suffering youth sports injuries including concussions at an alarming rate. A study published September 12 in the journal Pediatrics reviewed data from 1990 to 2014 of the number of soccer-related injuries suffered by 7- through 17-year-olds who sought emergency medical treatment. The overall rate of youth sports injuries rose from 106 per 10,000 players in1990 to 220 per 10,000 players in 2013. In addition, closed head injuries, including concussions, accounted for 7.3 percent of all injuries in the study. Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, did not have sufficient data to determine 2014 rates.
A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head, according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). A fall or a hit to the head can result in a concussion. Concussions can range from mild to severe, and athletes can get a concussion even if they are wearing a helmet. The ODH advises parents to determine if their child has a concussion by watching for some of the following signs:
• Appears dazed or stunned
• Confused about assignment or position
• Forgets plays
• Is unsure of game, score or opponent
• Moves clumsily
• Shows behavior or personality changes (irritability, sadness, nervousness, feeling more emotional)
• Loses consciousness (evenly briefly)
• Can’t recall events before or after the hit or fall
Ohio government officials have taken steps to help prevent young athletes from suffering concussions by passing the Ohio Return to Play Law. Public and private schools, and youth sports organizations are required to follow this law which went into effect in April 2013. The measure calls for coach and other sports officials to stop youth athletes from playing a game or practice if it’s discovered that the athlete sustained a concussion. Student athletes cannot return to play on the same day they are removed. Under the law, they can only return with a written clearance from a licensed healthcare provider.
Young Ohio soccer athletes do not have to worry about sustaining a concussion by a common soccer move called, “heading,” a way to control the ball by using the head. Last year, the U.S. Soccer Federation banned heading for children 10 and under, and limited the amount of heading in practice for 11- through 13-year-old soccer athletes. The move was a way to protect the health of safety of young athletes, according to the organization.