Soccer or Fútbal, as it is known in most of the world, is a great way for your child to get exercise and have some fun. However, like most sports, young soccer players and their families need to be aware of the possible dangers of the sport. The potential for eye injuries are surprisingly high for in soccer so you should consider having your child wear protective eyewear.
Here is a report on the effects the impact of playing soccer and eye injuries from The coalition to Prevent Sport Eye Injuries:
- Soccer is the leading cause of sports eye injuries in Europe
- Approximately one in fifty soccer players will suffer an eye injury in the course of an eight year career
- Contrary to pervious ophthalmology teaching that eye injuries are rarely caused by balls larger than 4” in diameter, the 8.6” diameter soccer ball is responsible for approximately 80% of soccer eye injuries. The risk of ball related eye injury drops to approximately 66.6% for experienced (older) players.
- Because of its deformative characteristics (i.e. softness), on impact the soccer ball can remain in the eye orbit longer than any other sports ball
- Soccer eye injuries can be serious (hyphema, vitreous hemorrhage, retinal tear, chorioretinal rupture, angle recession) as well as minor (corneal abrasions and contusions)
- ASTM F803 protective eyewear (certified for any sport) should be worn by all soccer players
- Due to the absence of proper techniques necessary to protect the brain and retina, heading should be discouraged for younger players
Always think about eye safety when your child gets ready to take the field but once they start playing sit back and enjoy the game. While the potential for eye injuries is real, that should not deter you from allowing your child to get out on the and have some fun. The wonderful benefits of exercise and teamwork clearly outweighs the risk of playing.