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Injury Prevention: Staying in the game

Injuries that typically result in time loss from competition are a common occurrence for young athletes participating in soccer. Fortunately, you do not have to sit back and wait for an injury to happen. There are many precautions athletes and coaches can take to prevent injuries from occurring.


Prevention Strategy

  1. Wear proper clothing and shoes. Clothing should be appropriate for the climate you will be playing in. Encouraging athletes to wear pants or spandex in cold weather helps to keep muscles warm and flexible. Use the proper shoes for weather and surface athletes will be playing on. Shoes should be replaced if the sole of shoe breaks or if any part of the shoe rips, exposing the foot and toes.
  2. Wear ALL appropriate equipment for soccer and make sure it fits! The coach should be able to help make sure all athletes have shin guards and shoes that fit properly.
  3. Make sure you warm up and stretch before practice. Stretching after any exercise can also help decrease soreness and muscle injury. A proper warm up should take AT LEAST 10-15 min and should include stretches for all major muscle groups. Using proper stretching techniques can prevent extra stresses from being placed on joints and muscles.
  4. Make sure all athletes know and follow the rules of the game, they are there for young athletes' protection.
  5. Rest is one of the most important ways to prevent injury. All athletes need to have at least one day of complete rest every week to give muscles time to recover.
  6. Stay hydrated!!! A loss of 2% of the body's water volume through sweating during competition can decrease physical performance up to 30%. Prevent injuries by hydrating with 64 oz of fluids per day, particularly during the 24 hours prior to exercise, 20 oz 2 hours before exercise, 7 oz every 20 minutes during exercise, and 8 oz within 30 minutes of completing exercise.
  7. If you have minor aches and pains after practice apply ice for 20 minutes. Ice can help keep inflammation down and prevent an injury from getting worse.

Staying in the Game Year Round

You can work to prevent injuries year round. Staying in shape from season to season will keep your body ready and prepared for the stresses and strains of the season. Be sure to incorporate some rest periods to avoid overtraining.

 
Washington Youth Soccer

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