Cumulative brain damage found in amateur soccer players from 'heading' the ball.

June 25, 2013, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

A new study published in the medical journal Radiology investigated the relationship between repeatedly heading the ball and traumatic brain injury (tbi) over the long term. Researchers from Yeshiva University studied 37 amateur soccer players (median age of 31) who had been playing soccer for an average of 22 years. They reported heading the ball between 32 and 5,400 times during the preceding season, which lasted 10 months.

The average soccer player heads the ball six to 12 during a game, and 30 times or more during practice. The concern is that the 'sub concussive' impacts to the brain are causing minor tears in nerve fibres in the brain resulting in damage. According to Dr. Michael Lipton, one of the study authors, “Repetitive heading could set off a cascade of responses that leads to degeneration of brain cells over time."

The study determined that as the number of headings increased so did evidence of tbi, demonstrated by abnormal white matter in the brain and with lower cognitive scores. It concluded that,

 "Our study provides compelling preliminary evidence that brain changes resembling mild traumatic brain injury are associated with frequently heading a soccer ball over many years," Lipton said. "While further research is clearly needed, our findings suggest that controlling the amount of heading that people do may help prevent brain injury that frequent heading appears to cause."



Posted under Personal Injury, Bicycle Accidents, Brain Injury, Car Accidents

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