Soccer facial injuries not uncommon, study shows

Soccer facial injuries not uncommon, study shows

Whether you are watching the World Cup or just a group of 5-year-olds chase a soccer ball around a field, you will most likely see elbows flying, slide tackles, players lying on the ground in pain and even the occasional bite. While players usually bounce right back, in some cases serious trauma occurs in the sport of soccer.

A group of physicians reviewed the number of soccer related facial injuries at two Brazilian hospitals from March 2000 through September 2013. For soccer players, nose fractures were the most common facial injuries followed by broken cheekbones. Collisions with another player caused 86.7 percent of the injuries and the rest were caused by the ball.

“Knowledge of its [facial fracture] frequency is important to first responders, nurses and physicians who have initial contact with patients,” wrote researchers in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery-Global Open. “Missed diagnosis or delayed treatment can lead to facial deformities and functional problems in the physiological actions of breathing, vision and chewing.”

Dr. Jay Dutton, a board-certified otolaryngologist and facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., has treated several soccer players with facial injuries. Nosebleeds are very common during soccer games and he offers these tips for treating a nosebleed:

1) Keep your head straight up in a neutral position.

2) Hold your nose for five minutes pinching the nostrils without stopping and looking. Do not pinch the bridge of the nose; pinch the fleshy part of the bottom of the nose.

3) Icing the nose will help to constrict the blood vessels and slow down the bleeding.

“If you suspect you have a nasal fracture, you’ll want to be seen by a physician within a day or two to make sure there is not a blood clot,” said Dr. Dutton. “If it’s more than just a nose injury– if it is an actual facial issue — go to the emergency room. Maxiofacial fractures can cause significant injuries.”

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  1. Lisa Parro

    I don’t know much about soccer, but it lacks some of the protective equipment standard in sports like football and hockey, so I can see how serious injuries can happen.

  2. I’ll be thinking of these interesting facts as I watch the USA play their big match tomorrow!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.