Focus on Family: Tips for young soccer players from Dr. Adam Bennett

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Dr. Adam Bennett – sports medicine physician

NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute

Dr. Bennett’s Tips:

Concussions are scary but rules are not being made to alarm parents or kids. We don’t know enough about concussions in youths and a possible link to problems down the road, so rules are made to reduce the risk of injury, to err on the side of caution.

Youths 10 and younger should focus on running and kicking skills for enjoyment of the game and physical benefits. They may not have the skill set to head a ball properly and there is a risk of injury. Heading should evolve with children as they age.

Concussion symptoms include confusion, clumsiness, headache or pressure in head, dizziness, nausea, etc. Symptoms can show up immediately or later. Call a doctor if symptoms persist or worsen.

Overuse injuries are most common. Wear appropriate gear. Be aware of too many practices or training sessions. If aches or pains linger, don’t tough it out. See a doctor for an evaluation.  On the soccer field or any field, always be aware of where you are and who is around you.

Sports offer children an important outlet for physical, social and emotional development. Clear the path for open conversation, attempting to find the trigger for the fear. Was it something they saw at practice or a game? Did they get injured? Provide support and lots of encouragement. Focus on effort, not success. Make sure you have appropriate gear. Don’t be demanding, help them get over the fear at their pace.

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