Tuesday, 16 Apr 2024

A Closer Look at Faking Injuries in Soccer: Protecting Players Against Real Injuries

soccer players fake injuries

Soccer players often face criticism for their perceived tendency to fake injuries, manipulating the game’s outcome. However, it is crucial to differentiate between genuine injuries and theatrical dives. In this article, we delve deeper into this phenomenon and explore how we can protect players from real injuries.

Typical Reasons Players Fake Injuries

Soccer enthusiasts are well aware of why players often resort to faking injuries during matches. These theatrics serve the purpose of manipulating the game in various ways. The typical outcomes players hope to achieve by faking injuries include:

  • Obtaining penalties: Players aim to earn penalty kicks, granting their team an easy scoring opportunity.
  • Gaining freekicks: Faking injuries can lead to freekicks, improving a team’s chances of scoring.
  • Frustrating the opposing team: By feigning injuries, players can provoke frustration in their opponents, potentially affecting their performance.
  • Receiving yellow or red cards for the opposing team: Faking injuries can lead to penalties for the opposing team, causing them to lose a player advantage.

Ultimately, faking injuries, or exaggerating their severity, provides teams with an advantage they couldn’t achieve through legitimate means. While it is easy to dismiss soccer players as “soft,” it is essential to understand that the purpose behind faking injuries is to gain an edge. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that some injuries are genuine.

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Assessing the Authenticity of Injuries

Though some injuries may appear fake, they are often more accurate than they seem. Soccer players who have experienced the sport for a significant period are familiar with this phenomenon. A seemingly mild tackle can inflict a surge of pain that dissipates within seconds, leading players to quickly get back on their feet.

Moreover, soccer players frequently get targeted in vulnerable areas during tackles, such as the shins, ankles, and knees. These bony regions, with few muscles and an abundance of nerves, are prone to experiencing pain. However, the agony is usually short-lived.

While apparent signs of injury include redness, swelling, and bruising, these symptoms are mild and tend to heal without extensive intervention. Nevertheless, even injuries occurring in fleshier areas can result in painful muscle damage, rendering them genuine to some extent. If a player appears genuinely unable to move or is experiencing intense pain, their injury is likely real. Conversely, if a player suddenly collapses after a brief period of apparent normalcy, they are likely showcasing their acting or diving abilities.

The Perils of Downplaying Real Injuries

Downplaying injuries by adopting a “just get up” mentality can be detrimental and dangerous. Assuming an injury is fake fosters a culture of negligence towards real and potentially serious or life-threatening injuries. This is particularly concerning when it comes to concussions and brain injuries. Research has revealed that even mild or sub-concussive impacts, such as heading the ball repeatedly, can have long-term detrimental effects on the brain.

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Furthermore, seemingly mild leg injuries may cause more damage than players or coaches initially realize. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize player well-being and safety. If a player complains of pain or appears injured, it is best to provide them with rest and, if necessary, have them examined by a doctor to ensure their injury is not more severe than initially assumed. Safety should always be the top priority.

Protecting Against Genuine Soccer Injuries

Taking proactive measures to prevent soccer injuries is imperative. Equipping players with protective gear, such as soccer concussion headbands and padded leggings, can significantly reduce the risk of brain injuries, abrasions, and bruises. Additionally, practicing proper techniques, including header technique and visual skills, can help minimize injuries.

However, preventing players from faking injuries presents a different challenge altogether. While some referees do penalize players who fake injuries, such actions are not universal across all leagues. For now, we must accept that players are innocent until proven guilty.

If you are interested in more tips on soccer injury prevention, feel free to explore our Storelli blog for insightful ideas and guidance!


Q: Why do soccer players fake injuries?
A: Soccer players often fake injuries to manipulate the course of the game, aiming to gain advantages such as penalty kicks, freekicks, frustrating the opposing team, and receiving cards for the opposing team.

Q: How can I assess whether an injury is real or fake?
A: While some injuries may appear fake, they can be more accurate than they seem. Look for signs of redness, swelling, and bruising, as well as the player’s overall behavior and ability to move. Seeking medical attention if necessary is always a safe option.

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Q: How can we protect players against real injuries?
A: Taking preventive measures such as wearing protective gear, practicing proper techniques, and prioritizing player safety and well-being are key to protecting against genuine soccer injuries.


Faking injuries in soccer is a contentious issue, often dividing fans and critics. While some players do employ deceptive tactics for their advantage, it is important to recognize that not all injuries are feigned. Distinguishing between real and fake injuries is crucial to support player safety and overall well-being. By fostering a culture that prioritizes players’ health and taking preventive measures, we can create a safer environment for the beautiful game we all love.