Soccer is an exciting, fast-paced game that's lots of fun to play. It's easy to
learn and a great source of exercise. But soccer is a contact sport, and injuries
can happen. To keep things as safe as possible while playing soccer, follow these
Safe Soccer Gear
Safe soccer gear includes:
Soccer cleats to prevent slipping. Soccer cleats should have
molded cleats or ribbed soles. They need to fit properly and be laced up tightly each
time you play.
Shin guards to prevent shinbone injury. Shin guards should mold
to the shin, end just below the knee, and fit snugly around the ankle bone. Take your
child’s soccer socks and cleats with you when you buy shin guards to be sure
that they'll fit properly.
Other gear. Mouthguards protect a player's teeth, lips, cheeks,
and tongue. Goalies should wear long-sleeved shirts, pants or shorts with padding,
and specialized goalie gloves to protect their hands while stopping shots.
Safe Soccer Practice
Be sure that the team has a coach who emphasizes safe, fair
play at practices and games. This includes following national rules on how often,
if at all, players can hit the ball with their head ("head the ball"). Heading the
ball can lead to a concussion
and/or neck injury.
To prevent injuries during practice, players should:
Check the field to make sure there are no holes or other obstacles, including
debris and broken glass. Store extra balls and equipment well off to the sides of
the field before a practice or game starts.
Check the goals at each end of the field to make sure they're safe. Goals should
be attached to the ground, and goal posts should be well padded. If the field is wet,
use synthetic, nonabsorbent balls. Leather balls can become waterlogged and very heavy,
increasing the risk of injury.