Football. like most competitive sports, is inherently risky,
but you as a player can take precautions against injury or
re-injury. Consider this:
- Poor flexibility and muscle tightness are risk factors in
muscle and tendon injuries. In football players, the groin, hip
flexors and the flexor muscles that help you point your toe up are
Therefore pay particular attention to regularly stretch
these problem areas.
- Ankle sprains often occur during tackling meaning
that technique as well as fair play play a role. About half the
players with ankle sprains had a prior sprain, many within the same
season. The risk of a second ankle sprain increases by 3-5 times.
Most footballers see a sprained ankle as a nuisance, but returning
to play too soon places you at a clear risk for another, possibly
more serious, injury to the ankle or elsewhere.
It is good advice to follow the doctor's and
therapist's orders regarding rehabilitation.
Protection of a sprained ankle (e.g. taping, lace-up ankle
supports) for 6 months to a year or more is advisable for the
unstable ankle. Do not to try to return to play too soon!
- Knee ligaments, the anterior cruciate ligament in
particular, seem to tear during landing, stopping or cutting in an
erect position with straight knee and hip and a knock-kneed
position. Female players: You need to learn how to
lower the centre of your body mass and how to absorb the
shock of landing by flexing the hips and knees. Ideally,
you would learn this technique during puberty.
- Low endurance is an injury risk. In youth and
professionals alike, a major fraction of all injuries occurred in
the last 10 to 15 minutes of a game. Many training injuries occur
during pre-season when players are unfit.
So you should arrive to training camp in shape, do not
arrive in the camp to get in shape! Your coach will then
improve your fitness specifically for the game so that you do not
tire as much late in the game.
- Football skill is also a factor in injury: Less
skilled players suffer more injuries. Skill work may seem dull, but
as a better skilled player you get less frequently injured.
- Up to 50% of traumatic football injuries are due to
foul play. The more skilled and more fit players
are better able to avoid collisions between the defensive and the
- As a
boy aged 11 to 14 you are at a special risk. The
tall, less mature boy gets injured more often than the shorter,
less mature or the taller more mature boy.
- Shin guards are required in football. The most protective ones
contain air/foam cell pads. As players get older, some even wear
children's shin pads because they are small and light, but pass
inspection by the referee.
You can prevent lower leg contusion injuries by wearing
age-appropriate shin guards!
- Try to avoid head flicking the ball. Rather take a
step back and control it with your chest or thigh. When throwing
the ball into play, aim at the feet, thigh or chest of your team
mates, not their heads. Either you or your defender are at risk of
head injury when both are competing to head a throw-in.
- Always use a ball appropriate for your age and
have only players of the same age take real shots on the goal.
Otherwise your goalkeeper may suffer a wrist fracture.
- Never leave a goal unsecured. Portable goals which are left unsecured can tip over inuring players, in particular children and cause serious neck injuries or even a fatality. These injuries only occur during unsupervised play by children climbing on unsecured goals.