Women’s Soccer: Play at Your Own Risk

Soccer is currently the most popular contact sport among women athletes. Unfortunately, it can be a perilous endeavor. Some of the most common injuries from women’s soccer include sprains, strains, contusions, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, and fractures in the lower extremities. Women’s soccer actually involves more physical contact than men’s soccer and is therefore more likely to cause these injuries. Reasons for this difference are found in the speed of players and in the overall skill of the players. Anyone who has witnessed a women’s soccer game can tell you that the game has a much slower pace than men’s soccer. The women themselves do not run as fast, and this in turn results in more contact with the players around them to acquire the ball.

Tearing the ACL is one of the most frustrating injuries to undergo. It is also unfortunately a very common one in women’s soccer. Tearing or straining the ACL in the knee can result in a lengthy and painful recovery, and in some cases surgery is needed to repair the ligament. The ACL is a ligament deep within the knee which connects the femur to the tibia. Tearing of the ACL is caused by jumping, cutting, and contact with other players. According to U.S Youth Soccer Association website women are 4-8 times more likely to tear their ACL than men. The first two causes for ACL tearing is just a natural part in any men or women’s soccer game, but it is the contact in women’s soccer which puts them at a higher risk than men while playing soccer.

Many soccer programs are implementing sessions to prevent ACL tearing by strengthening the ligament itself into their weekly practices. Practicing a few jumps and lunges every week can help to prevent serious injury to the ACL or any other ligament in the knees and ankles.

Lauren Hoaglund, Class of 2017

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