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Saturday, March 18, 2000

Goalies get most serious injuries in youth soccer

A registry of serious youth soccer injuries during the 1998 fall season found the goalkeeper was the most dangerous position on the field.

A study presented in poster 303 found 68 soccer players had a serious injury, i.e., an injury that prevented a player from participating in the game for one week. There were 15 goalies in the registry; each had one serious injury. There were five hand fractures; one foot fracture; four, forearm fractures; one, tibia fracture; one dislocated kneecap; and three knee ligament or cartilage tears. "Percentage-wise, goalies had more injuries than players in other positions," said co-author William L. Hennrikus, MD, associate professor, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).

Eighty percent of injuries of all players were fractures; 9 percent, ligament tears; 9 percent, ankle sprains; and 2 percent, miscellaneous injuries. Fifteen percent of the players sustained an injury that required surgery.

In children 6 to 10 years old, 64 percent of injuries (upper extremity and forearm fractures) involved the arm stemming from a fall on the outstretched hand-upper extremity and forearm fractures were the most common. In children 10 to 17 years old, 72 percent of the injuries occurred in the leg, stemming from a collision while kicking the ball. Lower extremity and tibia fractures were the most common in this age group.

"Youth soccer had potential for serious injury including femoral shaft fractures, tibial shaft fractures, and knee and ankle physeal fractures and anterior cruciate ligament tears," said Dr. Hennrikus. "The injury site in this study changed as the players matured and their soccer skills improved."

Fifty-seven percent of injuries occurred at a game and 42 percent at a practice. A foul was called in 18 percent of injuries that occurred during games, and the average time lost to play was six weeks. Twenty-two were girls and 46 were boys. At the time of injury, field conditions were excellent in 87 percent of injuries and raining or muddy in 13 percent.

Co-authors of this study with Dr. Hennrikus are Brian A. Shaw, MD, assistant clinical professor of surgery, UCSF School of Medicine; Joseph A. Gerardi, DO, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics, UCSF School of Medicine; and Alan Ward, a medical student at Mt. Sinai Medical School, New York City.

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Last modified 06/March/2000 by IS