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Yeshiva University, USA research indicates that football players who frequently head the ball display brain injury similar to concussion, a mild traumatic brain injury.
The study of players who had all played regularly since childhood, underwent brain scans and cognitive tests to assess their brain function, which were then compared to the number of times each player estimated they headed a ball in a year.
Head Injury Threshold
The findings revealed a threshold of approximately 1,000 to 1,500 heads per year and once players exceeded that number, researchers observed significant injury in the frontal lobe (behind the forehead) and in the temporal-occipital region (the bottom-rear area), areas that are responsible for attention, memory, executive and higher-order visual functioning.
In neuropsychological tests players who headed the most performed worst in verbal memory and psychomotor speed tests (activities that require mind-body coordination).
Children more Vulnerable?
In the world's most popular sport, where balls can travel up to thirty miles per hour even in amateur games, these findings are a concern as heading the ball is an integral part of the game. Since children generally use adult sized balls, their brains may be even more susceptible to injury when heading a relatively heavier ball.
Dr. Lipton the lead researcher said the study presented, “… compelling evidence that brain injury and cognitive impairment can result from heading a soccer ball with high frequency”, and “We … need to do the further research to precisely define the impact of excessive heading on children and adults in order to develop parameters within which soccer play will be safe over the long term."
Minor Brain Injury
At HeadinjuryUK we keep up to date with the latest news to improve our ability to handle head injury claims. We use this knowledge to help clients with extreme head injury and to identify clients with minor brain injury claims, which are sometimes difficult to recognise. If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury, no matter how severe, then please contact Andy Shaw of HeadinjuryUK to discuss how we can help.
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