As with any sport, soccer comes with a risk of injury. Injuries can occur at the lowest level of competition and the highest. Some injuries take years to heal completely while some take only a few days.
Preventing injury starts with preparing the body for competition. Maintaining good physical health through exercise and training is key. Warm up properly and stretch before and after practice and games. An effective warm up might include jumping jacks, running in place or jumping rope for a couple minutes. Focus stretches on hips, knees, thighs and calves. It is also crucial to keep a balanced diet and stay hydrated.
The equipment players wear can also have a large impact on injury prevention. When selecting shoes make sure they are the proper size. In general, it is good for a cleat to fit snugly. It is also important to use shin guards that offer a safe amount of protection and comfort.
If you have experienced an injury it is essential not to rush back into play. It can be very tempting to try to get back on the field as soon as possible, but going back in will only increase the probability of a more severe injury. Make sure all symptoms are completely gone before you start playing again. In serious injury situations, get evaluated and cleared to play by a medical provider.
Preventing injury requires common sense. Give it your best effort, but do not push your body beyond its limits.