More than 3 million youth participate in soccer every year, with many injuries occurring. Most injuries are sprains and strains. Head injuries are a significant part of the game too.
Before the game, walk the field to determine that it is free of rocks, glass, sticks, etc. that could injure players.
Make sure the players follow a pre-game warm up and stretching routine before each practice and game.
Allow players to drink ample amounts of water during practices and games.
Make sure that player’s cleats (shoes) are appropriate for the playing field and level of play. Cleated shoes need to be used for traction only and not spiking other players.
Make sure shin pads are worn by all player and that the pads fit properly before he/she is allowed to participate.
Each player must be taught and use proper, safe playing techniques.
Players must be taught proper use of head butts which have the head and neck move to hit the ball in a controlled manner vs. the ball hitting the head and injuring the head or neck.
Note, when the head is hit forcefully the brain inside the skull shifts and can cause injury. When doing a hit butt to a ball, the neck must stay stationary and not shift or twist when doing so. The neck should stay stiff and let the body’s movement direct the ball. The player should never do a header to another player.
Players must learn to constantly be aware of their surroundings where players are and where the ball is. This will improve play and lessen the chance of unexpected collisions with other players.
A member of the support staff should know first aid and have an athletic training/first aid kit at all practices and games.