SOCCER: EYE INJURY TREATMENT

The impact of a soccer ball to the face can cause minor or sometimes potentially serious eye health injuries. These include bleeding, inflammation, retinal tears or detachment and can be especially dangerous for youth soccer players.

Few soccer players are seen wearing protective eye gear when playing on the field, despite soccer making up one of the highest percentages of sport related injuries.

Andy Hylton, OrthoCarolina physician assistant and former professional soccer player says direct blows to the eyes generally result in temporary blurry vision and can result in a “black eye”, but occasionally a more serious eye injury can occur.

Three main eye injury concerns are:

  1. Blow out fracture – pain, double vision, decreased range of motion of the eye (look for the player to have limited ability to look up)
  2. Retinal detachment – shadow forming at the periphery of vision, flashing lights
  3. Globe rupture – decreased eye mobility, extruded eye contents, foreign body

Hylton says an urgent medical evaluation by an ophthalmologist is important if any these signs or symptoms are present.

Eye injuries do not necessarily mean that a player will have to be out of athletic competition. Many companies make protective eyewear for games and practices that may be recommended until an injury heals.  However, the majority of protective eyewear does have thicker rims and can subsequently result in decreased peripheral vision for players.

Despite the current lack of popularity and protective eye gear options for soccer players, there are signs this may change in the future.  Research continues to show a strong case for why both children and adult soccer players would benefit from added protection.

Andy Hylton is a physician assistant with OrthoCarolina Pineville and also has a degree in athletic training. He has played professional soccer in the U.S. and England, and also played for Great Britain’s soccer team at the World University Games (Olympics for students) in Beijing, China. Andy treats all ages and orthopedics needs, particularly sports medicine injuries and conditions.

TREATING A NOSEBLEED

Injuries to the face are common in soccer, most often occurring though direct impact with either a soccer ball or collision between players. When there is trauma to the face a nosebleed can occur. Knowing how to properly treat a nosebleed can help minimize disruption and anxiety. When managed appropriately players can often return to the field with peace of mind.

Andy Hylton, physician assistant and former professional soccer player, says there are two types of nosebleeds – ones that disrupt the anterior chamber of the nose, and others that affect the posterior. The nose is filled with many small blood vessels that can be disrupted or break after exposure to excessive force.

90 percent of trauma based nosebleeds occur in the anterior chamber, according to Andy. These accidents should not alarm parents and coaches, however it is important to be proactive and minimize blood loss.

To properly treat a nosebleed, step one is to slow down the bleeding. Despite what players, parents or coaches may think, it is okay and expected for the blood to drain temporarily after impact.

Andy recommends the following treatment steps for a nosebleed:

  1. Have the player bend forward at the waist.
  2. Squeeze the bridge of the nose, applying pressure.
  3. Apply ice to the bridge of the nose while squeezing the area.
  4. Gauze packets can be placed inside the nose if needed.

In most cases, the nosebleed will stop within a couple minutes. If the bleeding does not slow down and is not improving, Andy says it may be sign of something more serious and should be evaluated by a medical provider.

Andy Hylton is a physician assistant with OrthoCarolina Pineville and a former professional soccer player. His suggestions are guidelines and treatment steps for some of the most common soccer injuries. In case of an emergency you should always call 911.

IS IT TIME TO LACE UP THE CLEATS?

A former professional soccer player’s perspective on playing the sport

Is it time for your child (or you) to head to the soccer field and join in the frenzy around the most popular sport in the world? What is it that makes the sport so appealing, even though some games end in a draw, and occasionally no goals are scored at all. How does such a sport continue to grow in popularity?  Like it, hate it or completely indifferent, soccer is in the U.S. to stay.

The expectation is that the game will continue to grow over the next five to 10 years, as the country strives to be recognized (and respected) on nnternational level. The presence of globally known players such as Schweinsteiger (former German national team captain and player for Manchester United, Bayern Munich) and David Beckham (former England captain and also Manchester United player), and others who have played in the MLS (Major League Soccer) have helped increase soccer’s profile and popularity.

Personally, I have been playing the game for nearly 40 years, and there are many reasons why I have enjoyed the game and continue to play today. If you are thinking about getting your child involved, or even start playing yourself as you watch you child run around the field, here are a few reasons why it would be a great idea.

Exercise: Playing the game requires constant movement. The size of the field in combination with the speed that the ball travels and changes direction requires the players to continually be active. It really is a great way to exercise and stay in shape.

Teamwork: The success of the team is dependent upon working together and functioning as a unit.  You have to learn to be dependent on other people (and help them to be successful), as well as being expected to perform your own duties/roles. This will even prepare you for life in the ‘real world’!

Free/recreational play: To play organized soccer primarily just requires soccer cleats, soccer ball and shin guards, all of which generally can be purchased at a reasonable price. The game can be played on a field, in a street or on your driveway. In my house that sometimes means the family room! You do not even need a soccer ball, any ball will do. Playing for a club or in a recreational program often will incur costs, but to just play with friends on a field somewhere is very inexpensive.

Lifetime: To me, this is one of the most important aspects.  20 years on from playing in college, I will still go out and play during the week with other friends who also enjoy its benefits.

If you are on the fence, I would recommend getting out there and giving it a try…..you may just be the next Messi……

Andy Hylton is a physician assistant with OrthoCarolina Pineville and a former professional soccer player. His suggestions are guidelines and treatment steps for some of the most common soccer injuries. In case of an emergency you should always call 911.

WHY FOAM ROLLING IS IMPORTANT: A SOCCER PLAYER’S PERSPECTIVE

Not too long ago I was working with the U.S. Men’s National Beach Soccer team in their Beach World Cup qualifier tournament. On a daily basis, half of the team would use the foam roller in the training room.

(Side note:  I’m a former professional soccer player, both in the United States and England, and  I can tell you this: beach soccer is a totally different style of play than my traditional “football”.)

These seasoned players were not weak and did not have a muscle imbalance, but the demands of playing soccer on the sand put excessive stress on the core stabilizers and in particular the hips. The foam roller was, for them, a critical tool in their war chest to play their sport and stay healthy between matches. They are seasoned athletes but diligence with the foam roller kept them loose and stretched out.

Performing just about any athletic or recreational activity requires activation of the core muscles: not just abs but pelvic floor muscles, obliques, rectus abdominous, transversus abdominous multifidus, sacrospinal muscles, diaphragm and more…! These core muscles help to maintain stability and balance. Any type of imbalance, weakness or increased load (demand) can result in one or more of these muscles becoming strained.  The goal is not only to maintain the strength of these muscles but also, when necessary, the flexibility.

When we use the foam roller, we are able to massage the muscles of the lower extremity. Most commonly we find that runners develop tightness and pain in the IT band. This is due in part to the fact that at every point during the impact phase of running the hip (and lower extremity) is stabilizing the whole body. This increased load and stress makes the stabilizers work hard and can expose some hip weakness of inflexibility. The foam roller historically was used for the IT band, but more and more people are seeing the value in massaging out the hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles as the pressure helps to stimulate blood flow, massage out knots and loosen tight muscles.

 

See also: Foam Rolling Guide for Runners

Andy Hylton is a P.A. (Physician Assistant) in OrthoCarolina’s Pineville office and also has a degree in Athletic Training. He has played professional soccer in the U.S. and England, and also played for Great Britain’s soccer team at the World University Games (Olympics for students) in Beijing, China. Andy treats all ages and orthopedic needs, particularly sports medicine injuries and conditions.

THREE CORE STRENGTHENING SOCCER EXERCISES

Soccer players combine speed, strength and agility to compete on the field.  Ball handling, sprint work and shooting drills are typically incorporated into practices… but developing core strength may not be.

OrthoCarolina Pineville physical therapist Jillian Maguire treats many ACL and knee soccer injuries. These injuries can be caused by a lack of core strength and weakened hip and glute muscles.  By strengthening core muscles, soccer players can improve performance on the field and reduce their risk of injury.

Maguire shares her favorite strength building exercises for soccer players to incorporate into their training program.

Soccer Ball – Wall Squat (Photo 1)

  1. Place your back against a wall, with your shoulders and upper back against the wall.
  2. Slowly squat down the wall walking your legs slightly forward.
  3. Place a soccer ball between your knees, squeeze and hold for 10 seconds. Keep legs parallel to the floor.
  4. Return to standing position.

Complete 2 – 3 sets.

Gliding Disc – Single Leg Rotation (Photo 2)

  1. Use a gliding disc for this exercise (a Frisbee, paper plate or furniture moving disc can substitute).  Place the disc under one leg and stand tall on the other leg. Imagine a clock around you with.  Slowly slide the leg with the disc forward to the top of the clock (12 position) and pull back to meet the standing leg.
  2. Next, slide the leg with the disc to the right and pull back to meet the standing leg.
  3. Continue moving around the clock. Switch directions, moving around the clock the other way. After you’ve completed a circle in each direction switch legs.

Complete 2 sets on each leg.

Resistance Band – Side Step (Photo 3)

  1. Use a theraband or theratube for this exercise. Depending on equipment, either wrap the band around both legs slightly above your ankles or step on the band, pulling tight with your arms.
  2. Tighten your core and squat slightly.
  3. Shift your weight to one leg and take a step sideways with the other leg. Keep your hips level and try not to bounce. Walk side to side about 10 times in one direction.
  4. Shift your weight to the other side and switch directions.

Complete 2 – 3 sets.

MULTISPORT SOCCER PLAYER TIPS

Growing up in England, soccer was everywhere. From school playgrounds to streets to weekend parks, there was no lack of opportunities to play the sport. However, despite the love for soccer, the majority of players in England, still played multiple sports.

My goal growing up was to play professional soccer. However, I would still regularly play cricket, tennis, badminton and basketball. Playing multiple sports aided my overall athleticism and motor development.  It also kept me motivated and interested when playing soccer.

There is a trend of players focusing solely on one sport. However, recent studies have supported playing multiple sports and cross-training to increase speed, agility and build a more well-rounded athlete. Although the idea of playing a sport other than soccer may seem counterintuitive to your game, there are reasons it could improve it.

I’m not the only player who benefited from playing more than one sport. Most of the 2015 Women’s World Cup champion players were multi-sport athletes and multiple current English Premier League Soccer players excelled in other sports : Wayne Rooney (boxing), Zlatan Ibrahimović (taekwondo) and Joe Hart (cricket).

Here are a few skills that can be improved by incorporating additional sports into your soccer game.

  • Unique movement patternsYouth soccer primarily functions in a horizontal plane in a larger area. Complementing that with sports that require a vertical plane (jumping) in a tighter area (such as basketball) can enhance athleticism and even decrease the risk of injury.
  • Forms of coordinationControlling a soccer ball and changing direction at a high speed takes coordination.  Tennis and lacrosse can improve hand-eye coordination skills, which translate to the foot movement patterns required in soccer.
  • Team vs individual mentality: Soccer is a team sport, so players rely on other teammates for success. Individual sports like tennis and golf, build mental toughness since the outcome is dependent solely on a player’s output. Mental toughness and accountability are valuable skills as soccer players move into higher levels of competition.
  • Unique coaching styles A new sport will often mean a new coach and teammates. These new coaches and teammates will approach the game differently and give you different approaches and tips for improving your game.

Whatever you play it is important to have fun. Play hard, play with passion and success will be a natural byproduct.

Andy Hylton is a physician assistant with OrthoCarolina Pineville and also has a degree in athletic training. He has played professional soccer in the U.S. and England, and also played for Great Britain’s soccer team in the World University Games (Olympics for students) in Beijing, China. Andy treats all ages and orthopedics needs, particularly sports medicine injuries and conditions.