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

(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.

Stuttgart's Gotoku Sakai  heads the ball  during a German soccer match in Stuttgart, southern Germany, Sunday Nov. 11, 2012.
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)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
21%
14%
12%
4%
2%
46%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   BuzzFeed   |   Cracked   |   World History Project   |   POPSUGAR Tech   |   Business Insider   |   HuffPost Entertainment