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5 need-to-know safety tips this soccer season
5 need-to-know safety tips this soccer season

By: Dr. Burke

Fall in St. Louis is a perfect time to put on your long sleeves and stroll the sidelines of a youth soccer game. Whether you love the ref’s eyesight or not, it’s always fun seeing your favorite lil’ soccer player race by in a brightly colored uniform. What you love even more is a fun and safe game without a trip to the ER. Here are five need-to-know safety tips to keep your next Lionel Messi on the field and in the doctor’s office:

  1. Drink plenty of water. Yes, this may sound like a tired, broken record, but drinking copious amounts of water will help carry more oxygen to your child’s limbs and brain to make the right move (and reaction) in time. Fall in Missouri can still see temperatures in the high-80s or hotter. With a heavier uniform, shin guards, and the extra heat of running around, staying hydrated is crucial.

  2. Stretching is not to be taken lightly. Make sure your child stretches well with the rest of the team. At least five minutes of good stretching is recommended to help your child’s limbs and joints warm up well before the game.

  3. Encourage your child not to always use their head. ‘Heading’ the ball once or twice in a game may be a good strategy, but it can be a potentially dangerous habit for a young brain. A child’s cranial structure is experiencing tremendous growth well into their teen years. Encourage your child to limit their ‘headers’ in a soccer game to no more than once or twice as much as possible. In fact, a little bribe for each time they use their chest or knee instead of their head may go a long way towards breaking any bad habits.

  4. Wear the proper equipment. Appropriate-sized cleats and shin guards are essential for preventing avoidable foot, ankle, and knee injuries. Make sure your child wears soccer socks, not just any pair of socks. Soccer socks are designed to cover their shin guards and hold them into place. Wearing a mouthguard may also not be popular with your child, but remember, you paid for their orthodontics, not them.

  5. Encourage awareness from your child throughout the game. If they notice an opposing player is being extra aggressive, it may be leading up to potential injury-causing situations. Being competitive can be an excellent trait; being unsafe around others is not. As long as they keep their head up and aware, it should be a good, fun game for them to enjoy.

Follow these five soccer safety tips and cheer on your favorite soccer team. Good luck this fall!

If you’re in need of an orthopedic consult after a soccer injury, click here to schedule an appointment with Orthopedic Associates.





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