A first-of-its-kind national study of youth soccer injuries recently found that soccer is a relatively safe sport, but that the frequency and type of injuries varied by gender, with boys injured more frequently than girls but suffering fewer ankle and knee injuries.
According to a study reported in the February 2007 issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine, youth soccer players (ages 2 to 18) suffer around 120,000 injuries each year sufficiently serious to require a trip to a hospital emergency room. The total number of soccer-related injuries, including those treated outside of a hospital ER, is estimated to be nearly 500,000 per year.
Goalies suffer a disproportionate number of injuries compared to those playing other positions. The American Journal of Sports Medicine reported in 1995 that, even though goalies comprise only six percent of soccer players, they suffer nineteen percent of all soccer injuries. When a player collides with the post of a heavy, stationary goal post, the player absorbs all of the impact of the collision.
Teenage soccer players who wear protective headgear suffer nearly half as many concussions as those who play without helmets, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Canada's McGill University.
Because the most-commonly used return-to-play guidelines recommend that an athlete who has suffered multiple concussions be held out of sports for increasingly longer periods of time, up to and including the rest of the season, preventing another concussion may be the difference in the athlete being able to continue playing that season or having to shut his season down.