A dose of perspective should be included with a new study on youth soccer injuries. So says the head of the pediatric intensive care unit at Hennepin County Medical Center.
Andrew Kiragu says not only has the popularity of soccer increased during the 25-year study, but so has the attention paid to concussions.
“Where as before people would have said, ‘Just shake it off,’ you’re more likely to have someone present to an emergency department,” said Andrew Kiragu M.D.
The study published online in the medical journal Pediatrics found a 111 percent increases in the number of soccer related injuries from 1990 through 2014 for players ages 7 to 17.
The increase in reported head injuries during that same time period increased by nearly 1600 percent.
“I think when you read a number like that it is a whopper,” said Kent Campbell, executive director of the Minnesota Youth Hockey Association.
Campbell agrees with Kiragu that much of the injury spike can be attributed to better identification and treatment of concussions.
“First thing that we say as a staff at MYSA is go to your nearest physician right away. That first 24 hours means a whole lot,” said Campbell.
Earlier this summer, MYSA followed the lead of U.S. Soccer and banned the practice of heading soccer balls, by players under the age of 11.
Campbell says the association concluded that heading should wait until children are old enough to be taught to do it properly.