Taking Care of Our Athletes
The information posted on this page is done so with the intention of being a guide and to bring awareness to topics related to our athlete’s health, care, injury prevention, and other educational purposes. Please feel free to contact email@example.com with any additional resources you think would fit on this page.
Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) and First Aide Kits
Please see SoccerAmerica.com’s Youth Soccer Insider Article: In Case of an Emergency — Be Ready
The author of this article is Dr. Dev K. Mishra, a Clinical Assistant Professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University, is the creator of the SidelineSportsDoc.com online injury-management course, now a requirement for US Club Soccer coaches and staff members. Mishra writes about injury management at SidelineSportsDoc.com Blog, where this article first appeared.
The Coach’s Guide to Youth Soccer Injury Recognition
Now a required educational certification by US Soccer for coaches, the Coach’s Guide to Youth Soccer Injury Recognition, is a great tool for those who are willing to take the online course. It takes about an hour and is $5.00
HEADS UP Online Training Courses
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a series of online training courses on the topic of concussions.
HEADS UP Concussion in Youth Sports is a free, online course available to coaches, parents, and others helping to keep athletes safe from concussion. It features interviews with leading experts, dynamic graphics and interactive exercises, and compelling storytelling to help you recognize a concussion and know how to respond if you think that your athlete might have a concussion.
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) teamed up with CDC’s HEADS UP to educate coaches, officials, parents and students on the importance of proper concussion recognition and management in high school sports.
Learn the impact of sports-related concussion on athletes, how to recognize a suspected concussion, and protocols to manage a suspected concussion with steps to help players return to play safely after a concussion.
Three Common Youth Soccer Injuries
Sever’s disease is a painful bone disorder resulting from inflammation in the growth plate (an area of growing tissue at the end of a developing bone) in the heel. It is a common cause of heel pain in growing kids, especially those who are very active and run a lot. This condition typically arises during the growth spurts in the adolescent years; between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls, and 10 and 15 for boys.
Signs and symptoms of Sever’s disease include:
- pain, tightness, swelling and sometimes bruising in the heel
- increased pain with running and jumping activities, and may be exacerbated with a tight shoe or boot
The initial treatment of Sever’s disease is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Should symptoms rise, athletes must simply be treated appropriately with rest and modified activity. After enough recovery time has passed, the athlete can participate at a 50-75% level in order to keep them involved while limiting the trauma to the heel.
Osgood-Schlatter’s disease is very similar to Sever’s disease, but occurs at the knee joint rather than the heel. Most often, it only affects one knee, and is more prevalent in boys than in girls. It is very common, occurring in about 20% of the population, or in one of every five youth athletes.
Signs and symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter’s disease include:
- swelling and inflammation directly at the knee, often with point tenderness
- a visible, painful bump just below the knee joint
- tightness in the muscles surrounding the knee, including the hamstring and quadriceps
As with Sever’s disease, there needs to be a period of RICE to reduce pain and swelling at the knee. Once inflammation is controlled, the surrounding muscles need to be strengthened and stretched, increasing elasticity until the pain decreases and he or she can gradually start to play again.
Patellofemoral syndrome is an overuse injury seen in youth athletes, caused by friction on the cartilage under the kneecap. This causes a softening, roughening or general degeneration of the cartilage under the kneecap.
Signs and symptoms of patellofemoral syndrome include:
- pain and swelling behind the kneecap
- compensatory changes in running and gait pattern
- pain that is aggravated by activity AND long periods of sitting
- tightness or a feeling of fullness at the front of the knee
Once again, a RICE protocol is essential to limit the inflammation caused by patellofemoral syndrome.
It is also important to get the quadriceps muscle on the inside of the thigh strong enough to keep the kneecap in the proper place. Good exercises for this muscle are:
- quad sets
- straight leg raises
- adductor leg raises
If not treated appropriately, all three of these growth injuries can have more lasting effects into adulthood.