soccer players lined up at midfield

While it’s taken some time for soccer to catch on in America, interest has steadily increased. In fact, there are now around 16 million people playing soccer in the U.S. — compared to around 15 million playing baseball. So, as you gather to catch the action this summer, if you or a loved one plays the beautiful game, keep the following injury tips, facts and advice in mind!

Around 250,000 people per year are treated in ERs for soccer related injuries. The most common include:

  • Sprains and fractures: knees and ankles are especially vulnerable to injury because of the quick stops and starts in soccer. In addition, player collisions and awkward falls can result in fractures.
  • Strains and tears: ACL injuries are common in soccer, as are groin, hamstring and quad pulls. Depending on the severity, the remedies range from simple rest to reconstructive surgery.
  • Concussions: head-on collisions can result in brain trauma in many sports—and around 200,000 athletes get concussions every year in the U.S.

Preventing injuries in soccer is no mystery. Always remember:

  • Warm up and stretch your muscles before hitting the pitch.
  • Cooling down and stretching AFTER playing is also essential.
  • Stay hydrated whenever you exercise – 24 oz. of water before playing and at least 8 oz. for every 20 minutes during exercise is a good rule of thumb.
  • Equipment plays a part in preventing injuries, as well: shin guards, the right sneakers or cleats and padding on the goal posts can help keep players safe.

No matter which side you’re backing this summer, the World Cup is sure to provide more drama, thrills and cheers than ever. So, enjoy the matches—and remember to stay safe when you or a loved one head out to play.