Further example of why contact sports should be avoided by those with EDS.
Long sprints, hard kicks, and intermittent obstacles such as an opponent's cleat careening toward your calf pose real dangers on the soccer field -- even at the recreational level, suggests a new study.
In fact, the New Zealand researchers found that nearly half of all community soccer players sustained injuries at least once over the course of a season. Many were on the receiving end of a slide tackle.
"It is important to understand the number and type of injuries that are occurring in a sport so effective injury prevention strategies can be developed and evaluated," lead researcher Bronwen McNoe of Dunedin School of Medicine told Reuters Health by e-mail.
Soccer is one of the most popular team sports in New Zealand, she added. And her country is not alone. An estimated 265 million people play soccer worldwide, and most participate recreationally.
Yet despite its popularity, very little was known about soccer injuries at lower levels.
Borrowing an injury surveillance strategy from rugby, McNoe and her colleague Dr. David Chalmers attempted to fill in this gap by monitoring 880 recreational soccer players of both genders during one winter season. The players were between 13 and 59 years old. Each player was interviewed weekly by phone, and the research team recorded any injuries sustained in the prior week's practices or games.
By season's end, 47% of players had suffered an injury at least once in a game and 14% were injured one or more times during practice.
For every 100 games played, this translated into six injuries, the researchers reported online September 16th in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. Another 1.3 injuries occurred for every 100 soccer practices.
Sprains and strains to the lower limbs sidelined the most players. And a quarter of the game injuries resulted from a foul play, such as a dangerous slide tackle.
On average, more females suffered injuries than males.
Overall rates among these community-level athletes were also generally higher than those reported for elite soccer players, note the researchers, although the counting of injuries in those other studies differed.
The new findings offer important information to coaches, said Dr. Chalmers. "They are going to have to cope with around half of their players being unavailable at some time during the season," he told Reuters Health in an email.
"This may be an incentive to implement injury prevention measures that increase the availability of players throughout the season," Dr. Chalmers added.
He and McNoe are currently working on a follow-up study investigating prevention measures.
"Injury affects the performance of teams at all levels of soccer," Dr. Chalmers noted. "Staying injury free through adherence to injury prevention measures is one way in which a player can contribute positively to the performance of the team."
Am J Sports Med. Posted September 16, 2010.
Lynne Peeples • Reuters Health Information © 2010