We normally think of soccer as a safer alternative to “full-contact” sports, like football, hockey or lacrosse. However, a recent study has shown that the risk of concussion is much higher than typically assumed.
In fact, the concussion risk for high school girls soccer is 4.5 concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures. This ranks higher than the concussion risk for boys lacrosse, which is 4.0, and is almost that of football, which is 6.4.
The majority of concussions in soccer result from head-to-ball contact or head-to-head contact. Typically, these hits are the result of aggressive “Heading”, a move where soccer players use their head to hit the ball.
If more than one player goes for the same ball, the risk of injury is significantly increased, since players might have head-to-head contact.
Much of this risk is attributable to playing aggressively, however, players can educate themselves on how to head the ball safely, how to defend against head-to-head contact, and can use non-hindering protective gear.
If you would like to speak to a medical professional about concussion risks, look for doctors specializing in Sports Medicine.