University Pediatrics at Chapel Hill North

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University Pediatrics at Chapel Hill North


University Pediatrics at Chapel Hill North wishes all Rainbow Soccer League players a healthy and Happy New Year both on and off the field.

Sheryl Starnes, MD, MS
Play It Safe - Preventing Soccer Injuries in Kids

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in North Carolina. It provides a fun form of exercise and helps kids develop balance, agility, coordination, and a sense of teamwork. Yet, soccer players need to be aware of the risks of injury. Preventing injuries and early detection of injuries will help keep kids on the field long term. 

Injuries to the lower parts of the body are most common in soccer, including sprains and strains.   Often, these injuries result from overuse of a muscle, tendon or bone and can include a kick to the leg or a twisted knee. Shin splints (soreness in the calf), pain in the knee and pain in the back of the ankle are some of the more common soccer overuse conditions. Soccer players also are prone to pulling their groin, thigh, and calf muscles.  They also can suffer from a concussion or head injury. Finally, soccer athletes can be at risk for dehydration or heat stroke, especially when playing outdoors during the warmer months.  Here are some things to do to help prevent these types of injuries:

·      Have a pre-season physical examination and follow your doctor’s recommendations.

·      Diligently do warm-up exercises before starting to play soccer.

·      Use well-fitting cleats, a mouth guard and shin guards.

·      Be aware of poor field conditions that can increase injury rates.

·      Use properly sized synthetic balls.

·      Drink lots of water before, during and after a game — waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly.

·      Avoid getting overheated.

·      Maintain proper fitness — injury rates are higher in athletes who have not adequately prepared physically.

·      After a period of inactivity, progress gradually back to full-contact soccer through activities such as aerobic conditioning, strength training, and agility training.

·      Avoid overuse injuries. Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid "burn-out."


University Pediatrics at Chapel Hill North provides a full scope of services to all children from newborns to age 21 from wellness checks and sports physicals to treatment for chronic medical conditions, such as asthma and ADHD. Our mission is to always provide compassionate care to our patients. We offer extended hours, early morning walk-in appointments and a nurse is available during office hours to answer questions by phone. We also offer an after-hours nurse line, as well as pediatricians who are on call after hours.