Soccer offers various social and physical benefits to male and female soccer players, but like other games, soccer comes with the risk of various injuries. Unfortunately, the risk of soccer injuries is higher in female soccer players than in males. The majority of female players are familiar with injuries that occur while playing soccer.
In cutting sports, female players have 4 to 6 times increased risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries than males, and girls are eight times more likely to sustain an anterior cruciate ligament injury than boys. Before we discuss soccer injury prevention and safety tips, let’s have a look at some common soccer injuries:
According to a study, an ankle injury in soccer players is the most common soccer injury. The players also face knee and hip injuries along with ankle injuries. The most typical soccer-related injury is a lateral ankle ligament sprain, and the most typical surgery is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) restoration of the knee. Young female soccer players have also been reported to have a very high concussion rate, similar to the injury risk seen in young male players.
Let’s take a quick look at three frequently occurred injuries:
The most common type of injury, i.e., ankle sprain, occurs when a player comes in direct contact with other players, like when landing from a header or tackle. The lateral ligaments outside the ankle are typically torn when the ankle is injured during inversion.
ACL knee tears in female soccer players usually occur without contact with other players. The movements in the sport, like changing direction, landing from a jump, and decelerating, are quite risky. ACL injuries and tips to prevent them are very vital to discuss because the risk associated with these injuries are very high.
Most frequently, a concussion happens due to direct contact with other players, either head to elbow or head to head.
Why Are Female Soccer Players More Prone to Injury?
According to various scientific studies, males and females have different tendencies to move. Generally, Female Soccer Players can move with a more upright posture with a slight bend in their knees and hips, and they tend to jump and land with knees caving inwards.
These movements can lead to reduced lower extremity stability, more strain on the ACL, and a high risk of an ankle sprain. Also, female players have less core and hip power than male players, a high risk of a soccer injury.
Minimizing the Risk of Soccer Injuries
A strong and well-trained soccer player in a non-tired state with outstanding body awareness has less risk of injury. Soccer is an aerobic activity, with most matches lasting ninety minutes and players covering up to ten miles.
Soccer players need strong engines because these ninety minutes are punctuated with numerous high-intensity bouts of effort requiring explosive speed and power. Soccer players need strength, speed, agility, endurance, and the ability to jump and land safely, change directions, run forward & backward, sideways, and quickly stop and start.
Soccer Player Must Train to Play, Not Just Play to Train
Soccer injuries prevention in female soccer players starts with building the basics of effective movement patterns with strength training, balance, heart fitness, and flexibility. A good soccer player who participates in various sports activities from childhood has less risk of injuries. In this approach, the long-term player development and their health are maximized. Players must train to play soccer, not just play soccer. Training means more than just playing soccer to ultimately develop a soccer player.
Taking part in activities like squatting, jumping, landing, and lunging with an accurate approach can boost lower body strength. Your risk of rolling your ankle will reduce as you become more adept at balancing on one leg with increased challenges. Injury prevention regimens integrating these training principles are effective so long as the soccer player keeps performing them. Additionally, rest is just as vital as training for any player.
Injuries in soccer have proved hard to prevent in female soccer players. Efforts have concentrated on changing rules like immediate red card ejection for any soccer player leading with their elbow during heading. Protective headgear for soccer can help players to lower the risk of injuries.
If you meet with an injury, it is vital to restore it entirely before returning to play. A part of the body with constant pain and movement restriction can lead to wrong movements and cause overcompensation elsewhere.