THE CURSE OF KICKING
PENALTY KICK A European study shows that soccer causes preventable leg deformities in teenagers.
Soccer may be our most popular European import since the Beatles. The sport is now played by some 4 million American youths, most of whose parents view it as a safe alternative to football. Soccer is relatively safe, but it is not without health risks, and Belgian researchers have discovered a new one: bowlegs.
Ghent University’s Erik Witvrouw led a study that examined 550 soccer players ages 13 to 18. The teenagers stood with their feet together while researchers measured the distance between their knees. The longer the kids had played the game, the wider the gap grew. In young people, bowlegs are chiefly a cosmetic nuisance, though the condition can sometimes increase the risk of ligament damage. In later life, however, bowlegs can lead to arthritis.
…Witvrouw says the condition stops worsening after the age of 18. And he hastens to add that he is not recommending that kids give up playing soccer. Instead, he suggests regularly stretching the inner muscles of the knee and strengthening the outer muscles in order to keep them balanced. – HARALD FRANZEN
Popular Science, September 2002: 34
Qual a recomendação feita pelo Dr. Witvrouw para os jovens que não querem parar de jogar futebol? (Responda em português)
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