Mercy Health orthopaedic dream team encourages athletes to follow safety precautions and tips after long winter

After a long, hard winter, Spring is here and that means the start of soccer season. Mercy Health’s orthopaedic dream team, which provides advanced, quality care with compassion in your neighborhood, offers the following safety tips to help you be well throughout the soccer season.

A proper warm up is vital to staying healthy, no matter what sport you play.

A good soccer warm up to incorporate into your routine includes: jogging for five minutes; dynamic stretching of the upper and lower body; exercises that strengthen your core and hips; agility drills

When conditioning for the season and not doing sport specific drills, it’s important to wear a good pair of running shoes to protect your legs, feet and ankles. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your practices and don’t play if you’re in pain. Your coach should encourage you talk about how you’re feeling physically and the coach should also emphasize control, accuracy and good mechanics with all of your drills and activities. Do check your field before practice to locate any hazards you might come across. It’s a good idea to avoid playing year round soccer. The body needs time to recover throughout and after the season. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one day of rest during a sports season and at least three months off from any particular sport.

Even with shin guards and good shoes, injuries to the legs, ankle and feet are the most common soccer injuries. Some injuries are traumatic, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries and can happen when you get hit or kicked as you try to score a goal or defend one with a tough tackle. As cleats grab onto the grass, knees and ankles can twist. Concussions are also possible as players race for airborne balls. Other injuries are chronic in nature and develop over time.

If a trained health care professional such as a sports medicine physician or athletic trainer is available, he or she can often decide if the injury needs immediate medical attention or not. Traumatic injuries may require a trip to the hospital, particularly if you notice any gross deformity, immediate swelling or bruising, pain that does not go away or the inability to move the injured area. Players can treat most injuries with a short period of rest, ice, compression and elevation. If an injury doesn’t resolve itself in a timely manner, you should consider seeking an orthopaedic physician to assess and care for your injury.

A concussion is an injury to the brain. Most people associate a concussion in soccer by getting hit by another player but you can sustain a concussion just by heading the ball. One head ball can lead to a concussion and repeated head balls in a game or season can increase your risk for a concussion. Contact elsewhere on the body from a fall or player contact can lead to a concussion even if you didn’t hit your head directly. Concussions can range from mild to severe.

There are simple rules to follow to help protect your safety and wellbeing if you get a concussion. Ohio law does not allow you to return to activity on the same day you got a concussion and you are not permitted to return to play until you’re cleared by a doctor. You should never return to play if you still have concussion symptoms. Returning to play too early may cause Second Impact Syndrome. This is when you receive a second blow to the head before you have completely recovered from a concussion. This second impact can cause the brain to swell, possibly resulting in brain damage, paralysis and even death.

Coaches will look to see if you demonstrate any of the following signs of concussion: appears dazed or stunned; is confused about assignment; forgets plays; unsure of game, score or opponent; moves clumsily; answers questions slowly; loses consciousness; shows behavior or personality changes; can’t recall events prior to or after the injury

You may have a concussion if you experience any of the following symptoms: headache; nausea; balance problems or dizziness; double or fuzzy vision; sensitivity to light or noise; feeling sluggish; feeling foggy or groggy; concentration or memory problems; confusion

Rest can be the best treatment for a variety of injuries. Once your injury has healed and your doctor has cleared you, you can start to work with a sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer to regain movement and strength. This will prepare you to get back into soccer activities. Some injuries may require surgical intervention to help correct the problem.

Mercy Health Physicians, as well as physicians, physical therapists, athletic trainers and locations of Mercy Health – Cincinnati SportsMedicine (CSMOC) & Orthopaedic Center and a partnership with Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine comprise The Dream Team. The Dream Team consists of 35 doctors practicing from 15 locations in neighborhoods throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Returning every patient to normal function as quickly, compassionately and safely as possible is the goal of Mercy Health’s Orthopaedics, Spine and Sports Medicine team. Together with physical therapists and trainers, they provide comprehensive orthopaedic care for the foot and ankle, hand, wrist and elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, neck, back, joint replacement and sports-related concussion.

You can meet the team, learn more about their areas of specialty and find their office locations by visiting To find a Mercy Health physician in your neighborhood, or to learn about the services provided at Mercy Health, please visit or call 513-981-2222.

Mercy Health makes advanced, compassionate, quality healthcare easy to help you be well in mind, body and spirit. Mercy Health has been serving Greater Cincinnati for more than 160 years. Mercy Health provides an integrated network of leading physicians, compassionate caregivers, comprehensive services and exceptional care at more than 140 locations across the region.

The Mercy Health network of care includes five award-winning hospitals, senior living communities, primary care and specialty physician practices, outpatient centers, social service agencies, fitness centers and a variety of outreach programs.

Truven Health Analytics has named Mercy Health hospitals as the only Greater Cincinnati hospitals to earn national top 100 ratings, placing them among the best hospitals in the nation. Truven has also named Mercy Health as one of the nation’s Top 15 health systems.

Mercy Health is part of Catholic Health Partners – the largest health system in Ohio and fourth largest employer. To learn more visit, and engage in the conversation via Mercy Health’s social media channels (@mercy_health on Twitter and Mercy Health on Facebook).