Soccer 'Heading' May Harm Brain
New study finds injuries in players who've never had a concussion
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2012 2:00 PM CST
Stuttgart's Gotoku Sakai heads the ball during a German soccer match in Stuttgart, southern Germany, Sunday Nov. 11, 2012.   (AP Photo/dapd/ Daniel Maurer)

(Newser) – First football came under fire for harming players' brains; now soccer could be in for the same treatment. A new study finds that soccer players who repeatedly engage in "heading," hitting the ball with their heads, may suffer brain damage even if they never get a concussion. Researchers looked at brain scans of 12 professional soccer players and found damage resembling that of patients suffering from mild traumatic brain injury, the Los Angeles Times reports.

While 40% of concussions in soccer occur when players collide, just 13% are a result of "heading," and soccer players have been found to be at a lower risk for suffering concussions in general when compared to other athletes. This study could be important, then, because it focused on "sub-concussive" injuries and looked only at players who had never suffered a concussion. However, "the origin of these results is not clear," says the senior study author, which means that though "heading" could be to blame, the injuries could also have been caused by hitting the ground, goal posts, or other players.

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Nov 17, 2012 9:02 AM CST
Make me wonder if the republicans play soccer, if not, they must be head butting each other like rams do. they are so hard headed
Nov 17, 2012 4:40 AM CST
gee you dont say! doh!!!!
Nov 16, 2012 8:51 AM CST
It's impossible to head the ball 'properly' every time, just as it's impossible to kick it right every time. We were always taught that the only place on your head that should make contact with the ball is at the very top of your forehead a la that same place you might give someone a Glaswegian/Liverpool kiss. But it's a really difficult thing to do, especially when one-on-one with an opponent trying to take possession of a high ball.