Sports Safety: The Manual Every Parent Needs

Soccer

Sprained or strained wrists, knees, or ankles, broken fingers

Preventive Measures

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If your child is prone to ankle injuries, consider taping her ankles or having her wear ankle braces in addition to shin guards. If she has heel pain, place a heel pad or cup in her cleats. Make sure she heads the ball properly -- with the forehead -- but in moderation: Research shows that repeated heading of the ball can cause low-grade concussions; the AAP suggests limiting heading drills with kids until more is known.

Often-Overlooked Safety Move

Have your child use a waterproof, synthetic ball on wet fields or when it's raining to decrease risk of injury. Try to minimize your child's tournament play: "Tournaments often have kids playing three to four games over a weekend -- that's ridiculous," says Dr. Malina. "Pros don't play that much. Children get tired and fatigue is a factor in injury."

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