Wherever you live or work as a therapist, you are probably surrounded by 100's/1000's of youths who play soccer!
I know quite a number of massage / manual therapists who have built successful practices by focusing on the avoidance and treatment of soccer injuries.
Soccer players are uniquely susceptible to muscle strains and ligament sprains due to the quick changes in direction, lateral movements, pivoting and the rapid accelerations and decelerations involved in the sport.
The ankles, hamstrings, adductors (groin) and other muscles around the hip and thigh are particularly susceptible.
Most Common Soccer Injuries (Source: USYS / NCAA)
Soccer is the largest participation sport in the world. US Youth Soccer for example, is the largest youth sports organization in the United States, with over 3,000,000 registered players aged 5-19.
Just about wherever you live or work, you are probably surrounded by 100's or 1000's of youths who play soccer.
Honing Your Skills
By learning to understand the specific nature and type of soccer injuries, and honing your skills to address the prevention and treatment of these injuries, you can be assured of a boost to your client base.
Soccer parents meet and talk regularly at practices and games, so if you're good at what you do, you'll be amazed at how quickly word will spread.
Parents and coaches are increasingly becoming aware that sports massage therapy can pay off with health benefits for young athletes.
They are also increasingly aware of the benefits and importance of trigger point therapy.
Treating sore muscles
Just like older athletes, youths who participate in soccer experience sore muscles due to overuse.
A regular light massage can help reduce muscle stiffness and prevent common soft-tissue type injuries.
Soccer Injuries by Type (Source: USYC / NCAA)
Certainly in almost all cases, the injured young athlete should be examined/treated for satellite trigger points following an injury, to identify trigger points in associated muscles.
These may have developed as a holding pattern in response to the initial injury. Where these trigger points are left untreated, there may be an increased likelihood of other injuries.
Again, youths are no different from adults in this regard, and where the resources are available, treatment of this type will help keep them healthy - which means more time on the field.
Around 1.5% of all youth soccer injuries require surgery. Most of these relate to the knee (MCL, ACL) and all require prologued periods of recovery and rehabilitation.
Manual therapies including trigger point therapy should be part of the rehabilitation process, just as it is for professional athletes, alongside the required physical therapy.
Flexibility and Range of Motion
By identifying and treating trigger points, therapists can pinpoint movement issues.
This is hugely beneficial in terms of potential injury avoidance and improved athletic performance.
Don't underestimate the competitiveness of these young athletes. They and their parents tend to take their sport very seriously!
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