According to Reuters, a study says the injury rate for young soccer players, age 7 to 17, has more than doubled over the past 25 years.
According to lead author of the study, Dr. Huiyun Xiang, lead pediatric trauma researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, the number and rate of soccer injuries in children has sharply increased over the study period.
The fact that the rate of injury is also increasing indicates that the increase in injuries is not necessarily due to an increase in soccer’s popularity amongst U.S. youth.
Dr. Xiang says the overall awareness of concussions and head injuries today may result in more kids being treated in hospitals, increasing the total injury number significantly, according to Reuters.
On average, according to Reuters, 120,000 children between the ages of 7 and 17 are treated for soccer-related injuries. The majority of the injuries occurred in children over the age of 12. Most of the injuries reported were sprains, fractures, and soft tissue injuries.
Year-round play of the same sport can cause more injuries due to the overuse of certain body parts and a general increase of hours on the playing field per year, reports Reuters. Playing other sports or taking a break from their single sport can help athletes stay healthy and reduce the risk of injury.