Football and health

Football which is undoubtedly the most popular sports in the world right now dates back to 2500Bc in which time the Greeks, Egyptians and even the Chinese all took part in feet based games involving the ball. Football is said to have evolved in modern Europe from the 9th century onwards. Due to advancements in rules and regulations governing the game, football clubs began to spring up in Europe as early as the 1700's and football continued to flourish in Europe till the creation of the International Federation of Associational football (FIFA) in 1904 which reflected an international agreement between codes and countries with the first ever world cup been held in Uruguay and since then, the world cup has remained the summit of the football world.

Football, like any other sports require a lot of effort, energy usage and hard work and as such has a lot to do with health. The researchers studied the physical effects of soccer training for untrained subjects aged 9 to 77 years. The conclusion was clear. Soccer provides broad-spectred health and fitness effects that are at least as pronounced as for running and in some cases even better.

Football and health - Cameroon

Study leader Peter Krustrup concludes "Soccer is a very popular team sport that contains positive motivational and social factors that may facilitate compliance and contribute to the maintenance of a physically active lifestyle. The studies presented have demonstrated that soccer training for two-three hours per week causes significant cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal adaptations, independent on gender, age or lack of experience with soccer". In fact,

Soccer which can be great workout and lots of fun has a lot of health benefits, some of which include;

  1. an increase in aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health,
  2. lowering in body fat and improvement muscle tone,
  3. increase build in strength, flexibility and endurance ,
  4. Improved muscle and bone strength.
  5. Improved health due to shifts between walking, running and sprinting.

These and many more depict that football in very beneficial to health, but also it has been proven to be very detrimental as it could be associated to many injuries and health situations other than the obvious leg and arm fracture, sprains and strains. Some of which would be:

Football and health - Cameroon

Cardiac Conditions: Most medical problems causing sudden death are cardiac in origin. Sudden death in athletes is generally caused by congenital heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy being the most common cause. In older athletes, coronary artery disease is the most common cause.

Orthopaedic Conditions: The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation describes several conditions which can increase a young athlete’s risk of injury, including (1) a history of previous muscle injuries or broken bones; (2) anatomical misalignments of the legs (differences in leg length, abnormal position of the kneecap, bowlegs, knock-knees, or flat feet); (3) other structural defects within the body; (4) muscle-tendon imbalances and (5) limited or excessive range of motion

Finally other situation could arise such as:

Overuse Lower Extremity Injuries

Shin splints (soreness in the calf), patellar tendinitis (pain in the knee), and Achilles tendinitis (pain in the back of the ankle) are some of the more common soccer overuse conditions. Soccer players are also prone to groin pulls and thigh and calf muscle strains.

Upper Extremity Injuries

Injuries to the upper extremities usually occur from falling on an outstretched arm or from player-to-player contact. These conditions include wrist sprains, wrist fractures, and shoulder dislocations.

Head, Neck, and Face Injuries

Injuries to the head, neck, and face include cuts and bruises, fractures, neck sprains, and concussions. A concussion is any alteration in an athlete's mental state due to head trauma and should always be evaluated by a physician. Not all those who experience a concussion lose consciousness.

Finally, ocular injuries are also a possibility resulting from soccer.

It is highly recommended that soccer injuries be prevented using every measure possible. Such as;

  1. Having a pre-season physical examination and follow your doctor's recommendations
  2. Use well-fitting cleats and shin guards
  3. Be aware of poor field conditions that can increase injury rates
  4. Use properly sized synthetic balls
  5. Hydrate adequately — waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly
  6. Maintain proper fitness
  7. After a period of inactivity, progress gradually back to full-contact soccer through activities such as aerobic conditioning, strength training, and agility training.

Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries or soccer injury prevention strategies

This and a lot more could help our soccer player stay fit and uninjured

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When we talk of a healthy community, we mean a community where there is less exposure to diseases, less suffering and deaths as a result of these diseases.

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