More kids going to emergency rooms for soccer injuries

Posted: 8:57 AM, Sep 13, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-13 08:57:55-04

More kids are being sent to emergency rooms because of injuries they're getting on the soccer field.

That's according to a new study by doctors at an Ohio Children's Hospital that found 3 million children had soccer-related injuries over the past 25 years.

Researchers studied ER visits for players between the ages of 7 and 17. They found concussions were increasingly the cause of those hospital visits, but it could be because more players and coaches know what to look out for.

Coach Scott Daine, who's the Executive Director of the Capital Area Soccer League says there's no 'toughing it out' on his field.

"If there's any doubt about a player's health or safety then they sit out," Daine said.

One of the biggest things on his radar are head injuries, so at the beginning of the season each of Daine's players go through baseline concussion testing.

"Then if they do have a head injury or there's concussion symptoms, they have to go through a concussion protocol and they have to pass some tests based on those baselines," Daine explained.

It's a precaution that could be why more kids across the country are being sent to emergency rooms with injuries they got on the soccer field. Dr. Mathew Saffarian with Sparrow's Sports Medicine Clinic says it's likely because more people are reporting symptoms that were overlooked before.

"If anyone's suspected of a concussion the coach pulls them out and doesn't play them again," said Dr. Saffarian who's also a part of MSU's Physical Medicine Department. "Then they see a physician or a healthcare provider who then returns them to play for their own safety."

While the study didn't look at this, sports medicine doctors say the increase in injuries could be because more kids are picking one sport and playing it year-round at a younger age. That can lead to overuse and over-training which can make them more susceptible to injuries.

"They're playing it year round now instead of switching to other non contact sports like track or cross country," Dr. Saffarian added.

For Daine, knowing players could risk serious long-term injuries, he keeps his eye on the big picture.

"You don't want to make the injury worse than what it was originally," he said.

Sprains and fractures were the most-common injuries reported. Researchers also say the increase in injuries could be because more kids are playing soccer. The number of players has doubled since the 1990 to about 3 million nationwide.