Of all the summer sports in the world, football ranks the highest in terms of popularity. More than 250 million people play the game in at least 200 countries, attracting a fan base of 3.5 billion people.
Despite football’s worldwide popularity, players and the people who support them are becoming increasingly concerned about injuries. This is especially true with concussion in football. Even though football offers many benefits, such as physical fitness and the opportunity for teamwork, players need to be aware of the possibility of certain injuries if they hope to prevent them.
Most Common Types of Injuries Among Football Players
Heavy use of the legs, arms, neck, and head during football games and practices makes these areas of the body more susceptible to the types of sports injuries described below.
Bursitis of the Kneecaps
A blow directly to the knee can cause kneecap bursitis with ongoing inflammation and pain. The kneecap typically heals itself with rest and ice. However, players with an inflamed kneecap require additional treatment from a doctor. Meniscal tears occur as a result of severe knee strain and affected players will need to wear a knee split until they recover.
An overuse injury is a common way for people to injure the calf muscles in the lower half of their leg called soleus and gastrocnemius muscles. Football players can also tear their calf and require ongoing medical supervision to ensure it heals properly.
Also known as the collarbone, the clavicle sits between the shoulders, sternum, and ribcage. Clavicle injuries are among the most common and painful among football players. Typical causes include colliding with another player and the ball hitting the clavicle at high speed.
The human feet bear a person’s entire body weight and can be under substantial stress depending on their size. Repetitive motions like running and kicking can cause the bones of the foot to wear down and cause pain. Direct blows to the foot can cause traumatic fractures in the ankle or metatarsal area.
Injuries to the radius bone of the wrist are common in football. The usual course of treatment is for the injured player to wear a short arm cast for approximately one month.
Concussion in Football is a Top Concern
While each of the above injuries has the potential to be serious, the fact that they are visible makes them much easier to monitor than a concussion. Any jolt to the head or snapping back of the neck can cause a brain injury. The force of the blow causes sudden and potentially violent movement of the soft tissues of the brain inside its hard outer exterior.
No one can see a brain injury directly or predict how it will affect players. Some people bounce back within a few weeks with seemingly no symptoms. Others experience serious issues for the rest of their lives, such as poor mobility or cognitive decline.
How to Reduce Football Concussions
Heading the ball and colliding with other players are two leading causes of concussion in football. Team trainers should spend time with players reviewing safe heading techniques. For example, players should rest their chin on their neck and use the force of the rest of their body when moving the ball forward with their head.
Visual training that helps players have greater peripheral vision can also help to reduce football injuries. The benefit of the training is that players learn to sense when another player is in their line of vision without turning their head and causing a potential collision.