You may have heard of concussions among soccer players in your community. Or, you may have seen them happen while watching soccer games in person or on TV. Concussions are prevalent in the sport of soccer, and heading the ball is the most common cause of concussion. In high school sports, girls soccer is a sport with one of the highest concussion rates alongside boys football and boys ice hockey.
Concussions Among Soccer Players in a Game
Have you ever seen a soccer player head the ball off a goalie punt, and suddenly seem confused or disoriented? This can also happen after a collision out on the field. The player may clutch their head or move around clumsily. Next, you will likely watch as the coach and any athletic trainer at the game will run out on the field and ask them some questions. They will be looking to see if the player is answering questions slowly, or repeating them. If there are any signs or symptoms of concussion they will take the player out of the game.
Vestibular Therapy following a Concussion
Once the player is out of the game, they should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Most symptoms from a concussion will recover within two weeks, and many players will get back out on the soccer field again within four weeks. Recovery can take longer in young children or teenagers however. About 30% will have Post Concussion Syndrome, where symptoms last beyond the usual recovery period.
If you or your family member are not recovering as expected from a concussion, let your healthcare provider know as soon as you can. Starting physical therapy earlier improves outcomes and decreases prolonged recovery times. You may get a referral for vestibular therapy which will be very helpful in getting you or your child back to school and onto the soccer field again successfully! Treatment may include neck, balance, and eye exercises depending on the areas you are having difficulty with. A return to play protocol will be followed to safely get you back on the field. This will include exercises that are specific to the sport of soccer to ensure you are ready to play again without symptoms.
For more information about concussions, check out our previous blog post, and the CDC website about concussions in youth sports:
*Dynamism of a Soccer Player, 1913 by Umberto Boccionoi