Fundamental Youth Soccer

Treating Soccer Injuries

As the parent of a youth soccer player, it stands to reason that at one time or another you will have to deal with at least one of these:

Injury: Heat Cramps


  • Have athlete rest in cool place
  • Give cool water
  • Stretch and massage muscle affected
Sports Injuries for Youth Soccer Players

Injury: Heat Exhaustion

Player’s skin will appear pale and clammy, perspiration is profuse, may experience nausea, weakness, dizziness, headache, cramps.


  • Have athlete lie down in a cool place with feet elevated 8 to 12 inches
  • Give cool water
  • Loosen tight clothing
  • Remove clothing soaked with perspiration
  • Apply cool wet clothes (such as towels) or ice packs (wrapped) to the skin
  • Call 911 if player refused water, vomits or if level of consciousness changes

Preventing Heat Emergencies

  • Avoid being outdoors during the hottest part of the day, if possible
  • Change the activity level according to the temperature
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Drink large amounts of fluid
  • Wear light-colored clothing, if possible

Injury: Ankle Injuries

An injury to an ankle can take the form of a sprain or a break and may have different degrees of severity. Sprains are stretched or torn tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels around joints.

First Aid:

  • Always assume the injury could be severe
  • Immobilize the player (avoid any movement that causes pain)
  • Begin the ICE routine (ice, compression, elevation – elevation helps slow the flow of blood, thus reducing swelling.)
  • Ask the player to see a physician before returning to practice.


  • Remove athlete’s shoe and sock (until ice is available)
  • Have the player try to “walk it off”

Knee Injuries

The knee is the most complicated joint in the body, as well as the joint most frequently injured. It requires a specialist to treat knee injuries properly. Your job is to limit further injury and get the player to the hospital.

Knee injuries in youth soccer First Aid:

  • Help the player off the field
  • Apply ice to the injured area
  • Elevate the leg without moving the knee, if possible
  • Take the player to the hospital immediately


  • Move the knee to examine the injury
  • Allow the player to get up and “walk it off”
  • Allow the knee to move freely
  • Allow the athlete to continue participating until he/she has seen a trained medical professional

ACL Injury Prevention – August 2, 2007

ACL injuries are a big problem, even a bigger problem for females – ACL injuries are PREVENTABLE! Every serious female soccer player (of any age) should practice Proprioceptive Training (a good idea for competitive male soccer players as well). Strengthen hamstrings by jump training and/or leg curls. Avoid turning and landing with straight legs. Cool down and stretch after exercise.

Heel Pain

Shoe Tips to Prevent Sever’s Disease

by Colleen Schwarz, Special to Soccer California

Sever’s Disease causes heel pain in youth athletes known as calcaneal apophysitis. It is the most common cause of heel pain in children between the ages of eight and sixteen.

Sever’s Disease results from stress placed on the growth plate of the heel bone. Girls are most commonly affected between the ages of 8-10 and boys between the ages of 10-12. Excessive amounts of running or jumping with the heel in a “negative positoin” – common in soccer causes inflammation to the growth plate of the heel bone, which causes pain and limits a young soccer player’s ability. The muscles, tendons and ligaments are not growing as fast as the bone growth plate is fusing, which can lead to the growth plate giving way and becoming inflamed in the presence of tight muscles.

A common preventable cause of Sever’s Disease is a worn-down cleated shoe where the heel sits low, forming the negative heel. A cleated shoe in general places the foot in a position where the heel is lower than the toes (it’s similar to walking uphill). The heel increases motion in all planes leading to local inflammation. A solution is to place heel lifts – either 1/8″ or 1/4″ – in the cleats to put the foot and ankle at better mechanical advantage. Stretching the calf, achilles and foot muscles is also key in prevention of heel pain and growth plate disturbance.

Cleats generally don’t have the same shock absorbency as running shoes. With children playing soccer year-round, often three or four times a week, purchasing a stable, low heel-cleat count, shock-absorbing show is well worth it. Cleats focus pressure on the heel, causing stress that can result in inflammation and pain over time.

Keep in mind the common foot injury of Sever’s Disease, and promote daily foot stretching and strengthening exercises along with shock-absorbing, heel-lifted cleats.

Colleen Schwartz, DPM is the owner of Pilates on Spring, Pleasanton, CA
Mother of Pleasant Rage and Ballastic soccer players
Member of the American Academy for Podiatric Sports Medicine.
Email: Colleen


Dislocations and broken bones (fractures) are treated similarly. A dislocation is a displacement of a bone end from the joint. Dislocated joints will have pain, swelling, irregularity or deformity over the injured area.

First Aid

  • Leave dislocated joint in the position found
  • Immobilize joint in the exact position it was in at the time of injury
  • Apply ice and elevate to minimize swelling
  • Have the player see a doctor immediately


  • Attempt to relocate a dislocation or correct any deformity near a joint (movement may cause further injury)
  • Assume the injury is minor
  • Assume there is no broken bone


Blisters typically appear as a raised bubble of skin with fluid beneath; the fluid may be clear or bloody. The blister may be torn with new skin exposed. Generally painful.

First Aid

  • Apply ice to the area
  • Place doughnut shaped plaster over the outside edges of the blister and tape to prevent further friction
  • If the blister is torn, cover with a protective dressing


  • Treat a blister lightly; infection can result, causing serious problems
  • Puncture a blister


  • Properly fitting shoes and socks are essential
  • Wear two pairs of socks if friction is extremely bad
Youth Soccer Injuries - bandaid


Minor cuts, scratches and grazes


  • Cover any cuts on your own hands and put on disposable gloves
  • Clean the cut, under running water. Pat dry with a sterile dressing or clean lint-free material. If possible, raise affected area above the heart.
  • Cover the cut temporarily while you clean the surrounding skin with soap and water an dpat the surrounding skin dry. Cover the cut completely with a sterile dressing or bandaid.

Severe Bleeding


  • Put on disposable gloves
  • Apply direct pressure to the wound with a paid (e.g., a clean cloth) or fingers until a sterile dressing is available.
  • Raise and support the injured limb. Take particular care if you suspect a bone has been broken.
  • Lay the victim down to treat for shock
  • Bandage the pad or dressing firmly to control bleeding, but not so tightly that it stops the circulation to fingers or toes. If bleeding seeps through first bandage, cover with a second bandage. If bleeding continues to seep through bandage, remove it and reapply.
  • Treat for shock
  • Dial 911 for an ambulance

Remember: Protect yourself from infection by wearing disposable gloves and covering any wounds on your hands. If blood comes through the dressing DO NOT remove it – bandage another over the original. If blood seeps through BOTH dressings, remove them both and replace with a fresh dressing, applying pressure over the site of bleeding.

Objects In Wounds

Where possible, swab or wash small objects out of the wound with clean water. If there is a large object embedded:

Treatment for a wound with embedded object

  • Leave it in place.
  • Apply firm pressure on either side of the object.
  • Raise and support the wounded limb or part.
  • Lay the casualty down to treat for shock.
  • Gently cover the wound and object with a sterile dressing.
  • Build up padding around the object until the padding is higher than the object, then bandage over the object without pressing on it.
  • Depending on the severity of the bleeding, dial 911 for an ambulance or take the victim to the hospital

Nose Bleeds

A bloody nose is a common occurrence following a blow to the face, or in association with high blood pressure, infection, strenuous activity or dry nasal passages. Although usually more annoying than serious, any bloody nose resulting from an injury to the face should be considered as a potential fracture. If you suspect a head, neck, or back injury, do not try to control a nosebleed; instead, keep the player from moving and stabilize the head and neck.

First Aid

  • Place the player in a sitting position leaning slightly forward.
  • Apply direct pressure by having the player pinch the nostrils with the fingers.
  • Take the athlete to the doctor if bleeding persists.


  • Allow the player to blow her/her nose for several hours.
  • Stick anything up the nose to stop the bleeding.
  • Lean head backwards (player may choke on blood running down the throat).

Head And Neck Injuries

These injuries can be the most devastating of all injuries. Permanent paralysis may result from any neck injury, so these injuries must be handled with extreme care.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Headache, dizziness.
  • Unconsciousness (immediate or delayed).
  • Unequal pupils.
  • Tingling sensation or numbness in arms and/or legs.
  • Inability to move fingers, toes, or extremities.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Athlete not alert.

First Aid

  • Make sure the athlete is able to breathe.
  • Call for paramedic or other help immediately.
  • Keep the player still (stabilise head and neck as you found them).
  • Maintain body temperature.
  • Call parents or guardian immediately.
  • Pass all important information on to doctors.


  • Move the athlete.
  • Leave the player unattended.
  • Overstep the limits of your knowledge.

Broken Bones

  • Give lots of comfort and reassurance and persuade them to stay still.
  • Do not move the casualty unless you have to.
  • Steady and support an injured limb to stop any movementSteady and support the injured limb with your hands to stop any movement.
  • If there is bleeding, press a clean pad over the wound to control the flow of blood. Then bandage on and around the wound.
  • If you suspect a broken leg, put padding between the knees and ankles. Form a splint (to immobilise the leg further) by gently, but firmly, bandaging the good leg to the bad one at the knees and ankles, then above and below the injury. If it is an arm that is broken, improvise a sling to support the arm close to the body.
  • Dial 911 for an ambulance.
  • If it does not distress the casualty too much, raise and support the injured limb.
  • Do not give the casualty anything to eat or drink in case an operation is necessary.
  • Watch out for signs of shock.
This information is from