Youth Soccer Turns Dangerous

Dulce Paz, Staff Writer

Sports have always been a big part of youth life. When you were younger, you most likely participated in a sport or two. However, it seems like recreational soccer has become more dangerous in the past few years. It’s one of the most popular youth sports, with more than three million players being registered in U.S. Youth Soccer in 2014. One of the reasons for this is the rise in competitiveness between young children which leads to more injuries.

A study was conducted and it found high rates of concussions, broken bones, lacerations, torn tendons and ankle sprains. The injury rate is up by 74 percent since 2004. The data, however, only includes hospital room visits, not clinics or injuries treated at home, which suggests that the rate may actually be higher. The most common types of injuries were strains and sprains, followed by broken bones and soft tissue injuries.

One of the reasons that injuries are on the rise is due to players being more aggressive and inexperienced referees. The players are becoming more physical which results in injuries for themselves and their teammates. Another reason is that soccer has provided opportunities for college athletes. Athletes have gotten away with bending the rules and are now experiencing the consequences.

“I don’t think it’s changed; I just think that more people are involved. I don’t think that people are getting injured more but I just think that now technology has increased and that now we know more about concussions,” said Ms. Eisenberger, who is the Girls’ Soccer Coach.

One thing that all soccer players can do is to create space on the field to avoid head on collisions. FIFA creates the rules for youth soccer and only shoulder to shoulder contact is allowed but as the sport gets more popular, more contact is allowed. Something else that can be done is to enroll children in programs that place less emphasis on physicality. Soccer has been a sport that has been regarded as one of the safest, but with injuries on the rise, this could change quickly.