Rookie’s Guide To Injuries In Football And How To Prevent Them

There is a very funny abbreviation famous about FIFA i.e. “Faking Injuries For Attention”. Faking injuries as real as it seems similarly the risk of injury is also a glaring reality in football. Risk is higher in children’s and amateur or recreational football players, as they generally overlook the pre-match preparation and tend to commit more than their capabilities. 

Playing an Unfit Player is like Scoring an Own Goal

As we all know, “it’s always the last beer before getting high that has to take the blame for being out”. Similarly, your last appearance on the field is commonly blamed for injury especially in “overuse injury”. It happens because of the repetitive use of the tissue. Common overuse injuries in football are-

  • Shin splints- pain in the calf region. It usually gets worse after an extensive day of activity.
  • Tendinitis - pain due to inflammation of the sheath around the tendon of muscles. Illiotibial (IT) band present on the lateral or outer side of leg, calf or Achilles region and knee or patellar tendon are common sites of injury.
  • Sprain or Strain is another common type of injury in football. Lack of stability in joints and weakness or tightness of muscles cause these type of injury. Common conditions are-
  • Ankle Ligament injury due to faulty landing on an uneven ground resulting in twisting of the ankle.
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), Meniscus Tear are common sprains in the knee due to rotation of the knee joint with feet remaining firm on the ground or due to a blow on the knee joint.

Strain or Muscle Pull happens when a muscle gets injured due to sudden over activation of muscle or due to trauma to the muscle. Common muscles involved are- 

  • Hamstring situated in the backside of the thigh
  • Calf muscles pull 
  • Groin pulls when the inner side of the thigh is pulled.

Concussion, Head and Neck injuries- These are a result of the aggressive tackle or collision. A concussion is a mild injury to the brain due to collision or banging of the head on the ground. A neck injury may occur due to whiplash after collision or tackle.

Goalkeeper might suffer from shoulder injuries if he falls on an outstretched hand or colliding with the goal post. 

Cuts, Bruises, and contusions are other common but less serious injuries that can happen during football.

Prevention from Injury:

The initial pain is like an orange light of a traffic signal. It indicates you to stop but few people instead step on the accelerator. 

  • Listening to signals from the body is a must. If you feel discomfort or pain then attend to it, take the advice of professionals and then only return to the game.
  • Pre-match warm-ups, stretching sessions, cool down sessions after the match and proper conditioning exercises will reduce a lot of injuries.
  • The use of proper and fitting shoes/ cleats and guards and other equipment used would address the injury problem.  Cleats with multi studded and molded cleats are better. Use screw-in studs only when the surface requires extra traction or they could result in ankle or knee sprain. 
  • Breaks or periods of inactivity should be followed by gradual involvement in-game.
  • Conditioning exercise sessions designed for soccer and involving the activities carried out in real games can help a lot to reduce injuries.
  • Stays hydrated and takes proper nutrition before and after the game. 
  • Inspect playing ground for improper leveling, holes, waterlogging and foreign material.

Last but not the least playing with the true spirit of the game and avoiding fouls can be a major change to reduce injuries in football.

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