With the high risk of brain injuries in football, many young athletes and their parents are looking for safer athletic alternatives. Unfortunately, many of them are choosing soccer. Soccer is a great sport with a long history, but it also carries a similarly high-risk for concussions and long-term brain injury that often gets overlooked. In many reports, soccer comes second only to football for the highest number of brain injuries experienced every season.
Many of the sports played throughout high school and college have high concussion rates. However, as shown in the chart to the right, the sports with the highest rates are football, ice hockey, wrestling and women’s soccer. Particularly in high school football has a commanding “lead” in concussions per 10,000 games and practices. In college, though, wrestling skyrockets while football decreases significantly but still remains one of the highest offenders.
Soccer Risks A new 2019 study published by the medical journal Pediatrics found that girls soccer has one of the highest overall concussion rates, only second to boys football. While boys’ football and other contact sports require players to wear extensive protective gear, girls’ soccer doesn’t require the same protections.
Overall, the data showed that the three sports with the highest concussion rates were: Boys’ football, with 10.4 concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures. Girls’ soccer, with 8.19 per 10,000 ...
Boys' sports accounted for 53% of athlete-exposures and 75% of all concussions. Football accounted for more than half of all concussions, and it had the highest incidence rate (0.60). Girls' soccer had the most concussions among the girls' sports and the second-highest incidence rate of all 12 sports (0.35). Concussion rate increased 4.2-fold (95% confidence interval, 3.4-5.2) over the 11 years (15.5% annual increase).
Men’s American football (0.30/1,000 AE) Women’s football (or soccer) (0.13/1,000 AE) Men’s ice hockey (0.12/1,000 AE) Men’s football (or soccer) (0.08/1,000 AE) One important finding is that in sports played by both men and women, women sports typically had a higher rate of concussion.
High School Soccer . Girls had a higher rate of concussion (0.36 concussions per 1000 A-Es) than boys (0.22 concussions per 1000 A-Es) (RR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.08, 2.60, P = .03) (Table 1), and concussions represented a greater proportion of total injuries among girls (15.1%, n = 29 167) than boys (9.4%, n = 20 929) (PR = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.59, 1.64, P < .01). The risk factors for concussion in soccer differed significantly by sex.
Overall, high school athletes experienced concussions at a rate of 4.17 per 10,000 exposures. Football had the highest rate per 10,000 exposures at 10.4 followed by girls’ soccer at 8.19 and boys’ ice hockey at 7.69.