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Risk of Youth Soccer Injuries Higher Than for Other Sports

Last Updated: January 25, 2010.

Youth soccer carries a higher risk of injury than many other contact sports, with injuries such as concussion and musculoskeletal trauma occurring fairly commonly, according to a report published online Jan. 25 in Pediatrics.

MONDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Youth soccer carries a higher risk of injury than many other contact sports, with injuries such as concussion and musculoskeletal trauma occurring fairly commonly, according to a report published online Jan. 25 in Pediatrics.

Chris G. Koutures, M.D., and Andrew J.M. Gregory, M.D., of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness write that the sport, known as football outside the United States, is played by an estimated 15.5 million Americans, including over 700,000 girls and boys who play the game in high school. Growing numbers of players have led to an increase in the number of soccer-related injuries, they say.

In 2006, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated there were 186,544 soccer-related injuries, of which 80 percent occurred in people under 24 years of age, and 44 percent among those under 15 years of age. Knee and ankle injuries were the most common for girls and boys, respectively, the researchers note. Concussions resulting from contact or collision rather than failed attempts to head the ball are fairly widespread.

"Appropriate rule enforcement and emphasis on safe play can reduce the risk of soccer-related injuries," the authors write. "To reduce soccer-related fatalities, goalposts should be secured in a manner consistent with guidelines developed by the manufacturers and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Violent behavior and aggressive infractions of the rules tend to increase the risk of injury and should be strongly discouraged."

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