Excitement of FIFA World Cup Prompts Call to STOP Sports Injuries

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Preventing youth sports injuries will help keep kids in the game for life

As we enjoy the excitement of World Cup play, it is important to remember that athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and Landon Donovan play on a professional level that cannot be expected of our kids.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup begins today in South Africa, where teams from 32 countries will compete for the title at the world’s most popular sporting event. The World Cup is a powerful reminder that its world-class athletes would not be playing today if an overuse or traumatic injury had put the brakes on their careers. The STOP Sports Injuries Campaign reminds all soccer players to protect themselves from preventable injuries.

Every year, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger are treated for sports injuries that run the risk of long-term consequences. More than half of these injuries are preventable.

“As we enjoy the excitement of World Cup play, it is important to remember that athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and Landon Donovan play on a professional level that cannot be expected of our kids,” said Dr. James Andrews, president of the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine (AOSSM), which launched the STOP Sports Injuries Campaign this spring. “It is important for everyone who plays a role in a young athlete’s life—parents, coaches and healthcare providers—to put the athlete’s health and safety first and honestly communicate about issues of pain, injury, and the need for proper recovery.”

Although soccer provides an enjoyable form of aerobic exercise, soccer players must be aware of the risk of overuse and trauma injuries, particularly to the lower extremities. Common overuse and trauma soccer injuries include sprains and strains and can occur to any extremity of the body. To prevent overuse and trauma injuries to the knees and feet, soccer players need proper equipment, techniques and athletic conditioning.

Tips for preventing soccer injuries include the following:

  •      Make sure equipment, including cleats and shin guards fit properly, and pay attention to poor field conditions that can increase the rate of injury.
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  • Drink plenty of fluids before playing soccer and continue to stay hydrated throughout the practice or game.
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  • If an injury occurs, stop playing immediately to prevent further injury and return to play only after clearance by a medical professional.

For more tips and helpful information preventing soccer injuries, visit http://www.STOPSportsInjuries.org.

The STOP Sports Injuries campaign was initiated by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and includes a comprehensive public outreach program focused on the importance of sports safety—specifically relating to overuse and trauma injuries. The initiative not only raises awareness and provides education on injury reduction, but also highlights how playing safe and smart can enhance and extend a child’s athletic career, improve teamwork, reduce obesity rates and create a lifelong love of exercise and healthy activity. The campaign’s message underscores the problems of youth overuse and trauma injuries and emphasizes the expertise of our coalition of experts, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. Sports Physical Therapy Section, Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America and SAFE Kids USA. For more details, visit http://www.STOPSportsInjuries.org or contact AOSSM Director of Communications, Lisa Weisenberger at 847-292-4900 or at lisa(at)aossm(dot)org.

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