Shoulder separations are common injuries in a number of sports including soccer. A shoulder separation is the common term for an AC (acromio-clavicular) sprain. The acromio-clavicular joint connects the collarbone (clavicle) to the acromium or scapula. This injury is typically a result of impact on the shoulder or falling on an outstretched arm (ex. a goalie stretching to make a save).
When injured, the athlete will have pain and inflammation at the end of their collarbone and have trouble lifting their arm past their shoulder. There are multiple grades of AC separation with most of them being very treatable. However, with some of the more severe shoulder separations, surgery will be required. Once again, the PIER principle (Pressure, Ice, Elevation, Restriction) is a good first step to manage the injury.
When or if an athlete sustains a shoulder separation, it’s important that they check in with a medical professional with experience in sports injuries.