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.
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.
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).
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.
In high school, football has by far highest concussion rate at 9.70 per 10,000 AEs; second is girls’ soccer at 6.91 per 10,000 AEs, nearly 30% lower. Because of the number of children who play each sport, football is also responsible for nearly twice as many concussions each year as girls’ soccer (103,830 vs. 59,447).
Ice hockey had the second highest concussion rate with 1.20 concussions per 1, 000 AE. American football came in third (0.53 concussions/1000 AE). See the full list below: Rugby (4.18/1,000 AE) Ice hockey (1.20/1,000 AE) American football (0.53/1,000 AE) Lacrosse (0.24/1,000 AE) Football (or soccer) (0.23/1,000 AE) Wrestling (0.17/1,000 AE)
What is known is that concussion rates in soccer are as high as any sport including football and ice hockey. Almost ⅓ of concussions in soccer occur during the activity of heading the ball. However it is not the ball that usually gives the player a concussion, it is a collision with other team members that commonly cause the concussion during the act of trying to head the ball.