Get Your Head in the Game: The Dangers of Soccer Head Injuries

In soccer, the head is often used for advancing the ball, and it is common practice for players to keep their heads unprotected. Doctors believe that head injuries in soccer are significantly underreported, and studies have shown that heading the ball can cause instant changes in the brain. The information below will help you find out more about how soccer injuries occur and steps you can take to prevent them.

How Injuries Happen

Head injuries in soccer typically happen as a result of falls or violent impacts to the head itself. For example, a player may trip and fall while running, hitting his or her head in the process. He or she might also injure the head after colliding with another player on the field. A blow to the head from a soccer ball that has been kicked could also cause injury, and trauma may occur in cases where the ball is bounced off of the head in order to bring it closer to the goal.

Injuries

Heading a soccer ball can cause a range of injuries, including cuts and bruises to the face, fractures of the facial bones, neck sprains, and concussions. Cuts and bruises could affect game performance, and they may require first aid. Neck sprains could necessitate time off from practice and games, and patients may need to see a doctor just to make sure there are no fractures. Players who have a suspected or confirmed fracture of the facial bones will likely experience considerable swelling and pain, and they may require surgery. 


Concussions, which are among the most serious injuries seen in soccer, cause confusion, fatigue, severe headache, slurred speech, and decreased coordination. Some individuals could lose consciousness, and vomiting or nausea might be present. Soccer players who have concussions will normally need to take several weeks off of playing, and they will also need to limit physical and mental activity during this time. Doctors must give the patient medical clearance to return to the field.

Prevention

To effectively prevent injuries in soccer, players should have a physical examination before the start of each season. During this exam, they should discuss any concussions or other injuries with their doctor. Athletes should pay particular attention to proper technique, especially when heading the ball. In addition, it is recommended that players younger than 14 should not head the ball since their brains are still developing. At practices and games, athletes may wish to consider wearing headgear or foam padding to cushion the blows to the head, and neck strengthening exercises could help to reduce the risk of concussion. Players should rest mentally and physically after each instance of heading the ball.

With proper technique and injury awareness, head injuries in soccer can be significantly reduced. Always consult with coaches and physicians after any injury during soccer, and aim to use heading techniques sparingly.


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