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Former Soccer Player and Lourdes Orthopedic Expert Talks Soccer Injuries and World Cup Fever

This past Thursday, hordes of Americans gathered to tune into the nail-biting World Cup match between US and Germany.  While the US lost, they were still able to advance to the next round.DrPaz2

With the World Cup games, soccer fever has taken the US by storm.   For those young athletes who hope to one day to be in the World Cup themselves, a former soccer player and Lourdes orthopedic specialist has words of advice for staying injury-free.

“Soccer injuries, such as the one US player Josmer Volmy ‘Jozy’ Altidore experienced in the first US World Cup game, are all too common,” said Dr. Efrain Paz, orthopedic surgeon at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and a NCAA Division II All American soccer player. “Hamstring pulls, ankle sprains and ACL tears are the ones we tend to treat most in our patients.”

While not every injury requires surgery, most injuries keep players out of the game for four to six weeks.   “Depending on the severity, injuries may require ice, electric stimulation and massage…but most importantly, all injuries require rest.”

Dr. Paz, who played soccer from ages five to 21 and is now following the World Cup very closely, highly recommends soccer players and all athletes stretch before and after exercise. “Stretching helps improve your joint’s range of motion, which in turn may help improve athletic performance but most importantly, decrease the risk of injury.”

Stretching helps decrease the risk of injury, but doesn’t decrease the chance of biting injuries.   “Can’t say I’ve ever treated a shoulder bite…biting injuries are rather uncommon in soccer.”

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