Youth soccer injuries on the rise, according to new study

SALT LAKE CITY – A new study shows soccer related injuries have more than doubled in the past 24 years.

In 2014, there were more than three million registered soccer players, under the age of 19 in the U.S. – that’s nearly twice as many in 1990.

A study conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, shows soccer-related injuries are skyrocketing.

Nearly three million young players were taken to the ER for soccer-related injuries from 2000-14. While most were for sprains and fractures, 7 percent were concussions or head injuries.

“We’ve known for quite a while here in the state of Utah, that while boys football is the number one leading cause of concussions, girls soccer is number two and it’s not very far behind,” said Dr. Anne Russo with the Tosh Sports Concussion Clinic.

Russo said concussions can have long-term consequences.

“That means they’re not just going to have problems remembering information, but they are going to have potential problems with personality functioning, emotional regulation, depression issues are very prevalent,” she said.

Russo said protections have been put in place to protect athletes. All schools and sports organizations in Utah are required to enforce a concussion and head injury policy.

And the Utah Youth Soccer Association has taken steps as well.

They released the following statement:

“Soccer is a contact sport and the prevention of and recovery from injuries are a top priority of UYSA. U.S. Soccer implemented the 'Player Development Initiatives' earlier this year which include restrictions on heading under 10 years old and in many states, including Utah, heading restrictions have been increased to include under 12 and younger.

UYSA provides parent and coaching education on the prevention, care, and rehabilitation of all injuries and relies on strategic partners like Intermountain Healthcare TOSH to further this cause. We encourage parents and coaches to reach out to the TOSH injury hotline at (801) 314-4111 if they are concerned about a potential injury.

As the sport continues to grow UYSA will continue to fulfill our mission to promote and develop youth soccer while keeping player safety at the forefront.”

Andrew R. Hiatt, CEO, UYSA

Tyler Stockstill runs a club soccer team called, Utah Development Agency.

Most of his athletes play year-round for other teams. He encourages them to try other sports as well to decrease the risk of injury.

“You don’t need to be playing soccer 12 months out of the year to be a good soccer player. It’s important that you actually take breaks during the year to let your body rest as you`re growing,” Stockstill said.

To avoid injury, doctors recommend athletes take part in a preseason conditioning program, warm up before playing and wear protective gear.