From Jozy Altidore’s strained hamstring to Clint Dempsey’s broken nose and other bumps and bruises, the US Men’s World Cup Team suffered injuries to key players so far in the World Cup. Soccer can be pretty rough on the body. Below are some common soccer-related injuries that Scott Allyn, a certified athletic trainer for Sentara Sports Medicine in Hampton Roads, sees most:
- Ankle sprains – The treatment for an ankle sprain would start with making sure there is not a break (x-ray). If there is not a break, Allyn and team encourage the athlete to walk on it as soon as possible as long as they can walk normally. Therapists want to initially decrease swelling with ice and NSAIDs (Non-Steroid Anti-Inflamtory Drugs), then work on range of motion and strengthening exercises. This progresses to sport-specific exercises and return to play.
- Concussions – Concussions are treated with imaging such as a CT scan to rule out subdural bleeding. Then Allyn suggests plenty of rest. Concussions are handled in various ways depending on the level of the athlete. At the high school level, athletes are usually out at least seven days with a concussion. At the pro level, they are typically not allowed to return to play until they are symptom free and cleared by a concussion specialist doctor.
- Muscle strains – Muscle strains are treated with ice and NSAIDs initially, followed by heat and stretching after a few days. Then strengthening exercises and return to play. Re-injury is very common with hamstring strains.
- Knee ligament tears (ACL, MCL) – Ligament injuries are typically treated with surgery.
- Meniscus injuries – Meniscus injuries are typically treated with surgery.
Some of the hardest injuries to recover from might be the ones that actually don’t require surgery. For example, a lingering ankle sprain or hamstring strain can last for up to 12 weeks or so, especially if the athlete is trying to play while rehabbing.
Scott Allyn, MSed, ATC, is a Certified Athletic Trainer with Sentara Sports Medicine in Hampton Roads.