Monday, July 7, 2014

Newest piece at the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Soccer may be 'in,' but it's not an injury-free sport"

My newest piece at the Philadelphia Inquirer starts this way:
With all the recent coverage given to the World Cup, interest in soccer is frequently described as reaching a "tipping point." Even President Obama has done his part to popularize the sport: taking time out from his busy schedule to watch the U.S.-Germany match, playing soccer against a robot on his recent trip to Japan, and chatting with foreign leaders about the game's finer points.  
But the president appears unaware of the health risks. He has strongly warned Americans about the risks of playing football, going so far this year as saying, "I would not let my son play pro football." He hasn't offered such similar warnings about soccer.  
Obama is not alone in apparently believing that soccer is less dangerous than American football. Surely the media have been all over how dangerous football is for concussions. And the lawsuits filed by NFL players have received much attention.  
Unfortunately, soccer is not the benign alternative it is often portrayed as being. 
Take concussions.  
In college, women's soccer has a higher rate of concussions than men's football or soccer: 6.3 per 10,000 times women participate in soccer practice or a game versus 4.9 for men's soccer and 6.1 for men's football. Indeed, among college sports, women's soccer has the highest rate of concussions.  
But concussions aren't the only problem. In total injuries, both men's and women's soccer exceed those of men's football. Total injuries for men's soccer are 11.14 per 10,000 practices or games and 9.7 for women's soccer. For football, the number is 9.5. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here

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