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Medical News & Perspectives
March 14, 2012

Study Raises Concerns About “Heading” in Soccer, But Jury Is Still Out on Risks

JAMA. 2012;307(10):1012-1014. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.231

While recent news about athletes who have developed long-term brain damage related to sports injuries has been primarily focused on head-jarring sports such as football, hockey, and boxing, a new study suggests that soccer players may also be at risk of impairment because they use the head as a means of intercepting and propelling the soccer ball.

New study findings by researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City suggest that soccer players who engage in “heading” balls more than 1000 to 1500 times a year may develop changes in the brain that are similar to those seen in people with mild traumatic brain injury or concussions. These results were presented at the Radiological Society of North America's 2011 Conference held in November.