2/5/2007 Boys were more likely to have face, head and neck injuries and lacerations or punctures while girls tended to sustain ankle and knee injuries and sprains or strains, according to the study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine. The study, conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) at Columbus Childrens Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, identified the most commonly injured body parts as the wrist, finger, hand, ankle and knee. The most common diagnoses were sprains, strains, contusions, abrasions and fractures. The 13-year study revealed a significant increase in the injury rates of girls who play soccer, a statistic the studys authors believe may be directly related to the sharp increase in numbers of girls who participate in the sport. The research also found all players ages 10-14 were four times more likely to sustain an injury than players aged 5-9 years. Among younger players the study determined hospitalization was more prevalent among boys. Authors of the study suggested the higher number of injuries suffered by boys could be the result of societal norms that allows boys to be more physically active and engage in sports with less supervision than girls. Based on the results of this study, Christy Knox, MA, CIRP, co-author of the study, said, we support several recommendations for pediatric soccer safety. Children 2-years old to 4-years-old should be closely supervised while playing soccer because of their risk of head injuries and rate of hospitalization. More detailed research needs to be conducted on soccer helmets to see if the risk for concussion and other head injuries can be decreased, and heading should be minimized among younger players. The authors recommended age limitations be considered for competitive soccer as well as cooperation between soccer organizations and the medical community to ensure the safety of the sports participants.
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