As a 3-year-old, Patrick Grange reportedly loved to toss a soccer ball into the air and practice heading it into a goal. Grange specialized in the skill throughout high school, college and a semi-professional career. That career ended when he died from brain damage at age 29.
Imagine this scenario. You try to register for your hockey team as you do every year. But the league has a new policy: All players must report to a health center to get their mouths swabbed. A couple of days later, you get a call. “You’re positive for ApoE4. We’re sorry, but because of liability rules, you can’t play in this league. In fact, you shouldn’t play hockey anywhere.” Continue reading Do Sports Injury Genes Determine Your Fitness?→
Recognizing concussion symptoms may save your life.
For generations, athletes took blows to the head and kept right on playing. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the game. Coaches, teammates and fans may depend on you. But getting hit again and again can permanently damage your brain. It can even kill you. Continue reading Recognize Concussion Symptoms→
UPDATE: Referees may stop soccer matches for up to three minutes while the team doctor decides if a player can stay in the game in European competitions, wire services are reported on Thursday.
Gianni Infantino, the secretary general of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), said the policy was approved by the organization’s executive committee and will take effect immediately, according to Reuters.
My Original Story
Should referees stop a soccer game if a player gets hit hard in the head? Should team doctors should overrule coaches in deciding if a player stays in the game?
The answers to both questions seem obvious, but they are only now trickling into the minds of soccer’s governing body.
When U.S. national soccer team striker Jozy Altidore clutched his thigh and fell to the ground in the World Cup last month, physical therapist Holly Silvers thought once again of Russian hamstring exercises.
No less than three other members of the team (Fabian Johnson, Matt Besler and Deandre Yedlin) reportedly suffered injuries to this muscle group in the back of the thigh during the World Cup. Silvers, who helped develop the FIFA11+ injury prevention program for soccer’s governing body, tells me most of these injures could be prevented. Besides the pain these players experienced, the injuries literally hamstrung the team in a series of tough matches.
And it’s not only soccer players who suffer these injuries. Four Major League Baseball players (Munenori Kawasaki, Alberto Callaspo, Chris Dickerson and Shane Victorino) are currently on the disabled list because of hamstring injuries, according to ESPN. In fact hamstring strains afflict participants in just about every sport that involves running.
Two studies presented Sunday in Seattle at the American Orthpaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) show just how effective a few simple exercises can be against this type of injury.
One was Silvers’ controlled study on the FIFA11+. Previously her group showed the program could cut overall injuries by about half in female soccer players, but data on specific individual injuries were mostly not significant. In this new study she and her colleagues showed, among other things, that the program cut hamstring injuries by more than two thirds among over 1700 male NCAA soccer players. Continue reading New Studies Show How to Prevent Hamstring Injuries→
Knee injuries may grab the headlines more than any other type of athletic injury, perhaps because they can end an athlete’s career. But ankles get hurt more often, and these injuries can be pretty devastating, too.
Many of the same exercises that we’ve discussed for knee injury prevention can help protect ankles as well.
As a soccer coach, I’ve often yelled at my players to head the ball before it reaches the ground.
And anyone who has watched the World Cup this year knows what a beautiful role heading plays in the game, with Robin van Persie’s goal in the Netherlands vs. Spain game a prime example.
But given the latest medical reports, I’m beginning to wonder how much I should push my team of 16-year-olds to hit the ball with their heads. Today, former U.S. women’s team star Brandi Chastain joined a couple of nonprofit advocacy groups in calling on new rules to restrict the use of heading among young players.
If you’ve been watching the World Cup, you may have noticed that the best soccer players often go airborne. That’s been true for a number of years, as you can see in this video of the top World Cup headers.
But what goes up must come down, and how you land can determine how long you can continue playing. Too often soccer players hit the ground in a stiff, awkward position that damages their knees and other body parts.