Recently, I have been hearing a lot of talk about young soccer players getting a growing number of concussions. I have also heard about many concussions going unreported in this sport due to the player valuing playing more than their health. This topic is very near to my heart because I played soccer from age 4 to age 18. After hearing all these statements, I thought back to my many years of playing soccer. I wondered if I had some slight concussions as a child but didn’t do anything about it. I also thought back to my documented concussion. Thinking about these things made me wonder if the game of soccer was more dangerous than many people think.
Many people have suggested taking “heading” out of the sport when you are young. Some think that repeatedly heading the ball is detrimental to the brain and can cause concussions if it is not done properly. Knowing how to properly head the ball is very important, but even without knowing, the action does not cause concussions. The ball normally is not traveling fast enough to generate enough impact to cause the concussion. Young kids especially can not kick the ball hard enough for it to cause a concussion to another player. It is even difficult for a professional player to generate enough force to cause a concussion from kicking the ball (this study gives more information about the topic).
As I mentioned previously, the number of concussions in soccer is growing. Although I am not surprised by this fact, I was a little bit worried for the younger players growing up. Many people have opinions on how to reduce the number of concussions. I personally believe the easiest way to avoid a concussion is to protect yourself. Know when the situation is going to get physical. Know your surroundings so you don’t bump heads with another player. Little things like this will increase the players chances of avoiding a concussion. The first half of this study shows the statistics of the growing rate of concussions in soccer. The second half describes many people’s feeling of how to make the game safer. I love everything about the sport, but it would not be a bad idea to get ahead and start preventing concussions now before it gets out of control.