USA Football
Preventing Football Injuries

COMMON INJURIES IN FOOTBALL PLAYERS

NOTE: Regrettably, injuries of varying types do occur when playing football. A vast majority are bumps and bruises or overuse injuries. Great care is taken to insure the safety of all players. NGFB Coaches are trained to recognize and attend to most common football injuries. Coaches also keep a close eye on players with associated maladies: asthma, diabetes, etc.. It is very important that any medical issues be communicated to the coaches during registration to prevent any miscommunication.

Bumps and Bruises
Bumps, bruises, strains, sprains are very normal for those who play football. The most common treatment for such injuries is 20 minutes of ice on the injury, 20 minutes no ice. Repeat this process for 1 hour. FOR ANY INJURY HOWEVER ALWAYS BE CAREFUL AND SEE A DOCTOR FOR PROFESSIONAL ASSESSEMENT IF YOU SUSPECT A MORE SERIOUS INJURY.

Overuse Injuries
Low-back pain, or back pain in general, is a fairly common complaint in football players due to repetitive use. Rest, ice, massage, are the usual treatments for these issues. Patellar tendinitis (knee pain) is a common problem that football players develop and can usually be treated by a quadriceps strengthening program.

Heat Injuries
Heat injuries are a major concern for youth football players, especially at the start of training camp. This usually occurs in August when some of the highest temperatures and humidity of the year occur. Intense physical activity can result in excessive sweating that depletes the body of salt and water.

The earliest symptoms are painful cramping of major muscle groups. However, if not treated with body cooling and fluid replacement, this can progress to heat exhaustion and heat stroke - which can even result in death. It is important for football players to be aware of the need for fluid replacement and to inform medical staff of symptoms of heat injury. NGFB does NOT provide water at practices. There is a water fountain at the St. Clair fields but NGFB cannot guarantee it's operation. EACH PLAYER MUST BRING THEIR OWN WATER BOTTLES TO PRACTICE. THIS IS PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT EARLY IN THE SEASON WHEN THE WEATHER IS WARMEST.

Ankle/Knee/Shoulder Injuries
Football players have a higher chance of ankle sprains due to the surfaces played on and cutting motions. Knee injuries, although far less common that ankle sprains, have also been seen, especially those to the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL) and to the menisci (cartilage of the knee).

Shoulder injuries are also quite common and the labrum (cartilage bumper surrounding the socket part of the shoulder) is particularly susceptible to injury, especially in offensive and defensive linemen. In addition, injuries to the acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) or shoulder are seen in football players.

Concussions
A concussion is a change in mental state due to a traumatic impact. Not all those who suffer a concussion will lose consciousness. Some signs that a concussion has been sustained are headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, drowsiness, numbness/tingling, difficulty concentrating, and blurry vision. Each NGFB coach is trained on how to identify and deal with a player who is exhibiting symptoms of a concussion. The NGFB policy is a athlete should return to play only when clearance is granted by a health care professional.

 
INJURY PREVENTION

  • Have a pre-season health and wellness evaluation
  • Perform proper warm-up and cool-down routines
  • Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching
  • Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize cramps
  • Stay active during summer break to prepare for return to sports in the fall
  • Wear properly fitted protective equipment, such as a helmet, pads, and mouthguard
  • Tackle with the head up and do not lead with the helmet
  • Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about football injuries or football injury prevention strategies