heading soccer ball

Heading a soccer ball too often could be bad for the brain. Neurologists have suspected this for some time. Now a study confirms the harmful effects.

Heading a Soccer Ball:

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine queried 222 amateur soccer players between the ages of 18 and 55. Over the course of two weeks, subjects reported an average of 40.5 soccer ball headings.

What Were the Results?

Roughly one-fifth of the players experienced symptoms of concussion that were categorized as moderate to quite severe. Some of the neurological complications could be attributed to unintentional head impacts such as a collision with another player.

But the researchers noted that symptoms of concussion were independently linked to heading the ball. Players who headed the ball more frequently appeared to be more vulnerable to concussions.

The results of the new study, published in the journal Neurology, were consistent with prior research. In the investigation, neurologists found structural changes in the brains of players who had headed the soccer ball over 1000 times a year. Coaches and players may need to recognize that concussions after heading are more frequent than most people would imagine.

Neurology, online Feb. 1, 2017

You can learn more about concussions resulting from soccer and other sports in our Show 1011: Sports and Concussions. We explored the consequences of a severe concussion in Show 1012: What to Do About a Ghost in Your Brain.

Show 1012: What to Do About a Ghost in Your Brain

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  1. Linda
    Reply

    I agree with the previous comment. Really? We needed a study to tell us that hitting your head , without a helmet, might have lasting effects? The saddest part with all the concussion information out there, is that there are still parents putting their kids at risk, in the hopes of a scholarship for a child that stands little to no chance of making a living at that sport. Schools need to put as much of there focus an energy on science and math as they do in sports programs. That is what will pay the bills when their kids grow into adulthood.

  2. Bob
    South Carolina
    Reply

    It’s troublesome that soccer seems to now be the sport of choice for our young kids. While there has been much rejection of the heading injury concerns by soccer leagues basic science tells you that anything impacting the head will have these same forces applied to the brain which can’t be good and especially with young children. This is an old subject that has been discussed for years but little progress is being made to resolve this issue.

  3. NoBs.
    PA
    Reply

    Really?? They had to do a study at Albert Einstein College of medicine to come up with this ? As a grandparent, I winced every time my grandsons headed the ball while growing up. Maybe they should do a study whether getting hit in the head while boxing might give one concussions.

    Or, perhaps getting hit on the head with a baseball bat can make one see stars.

    I’m all for research… but let’s spend the money on something we don’t know about.

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