Source: NJ.com Health
Soccer players have always been assured that heading the ball — redirecting it by having it bounce off the head — is harmless when done correctly.
But brain researchers say the practice needs to be studied more to determine it’s a true risk for concussion.
Soccer alone accounts for 15 percent of the total number of concussions in all sports, one study found. And what sport comes right behind football in the its share of all sports-related concussions?
Considering soccer is the world’s most popular sport, the specialized move deserves more research, said Tom Schweizer, director of the Neuroscience Research Program of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, writing in today’s issue of the journal Brain Injury.
The players offer scientists a unique opportunity to study “sub-concussive” head impacts — blows to the head that do not cause any symptoms of concussion.
Soccer players get knocked around during the game, with most of their injuries coming from contact with other players or the ground. Concussions account for between 5.8 and 8.6 percent of total injuries experienced during games.
“Soccer players present a unique opportunity to study whether cumulative sub-concussive impacts affect cognitive functioning, similar to that of concussions,” Schweizer wrote.