Soccer is perhaps the most popular sport on the planet, with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) estimating that 4% of the world’s population plays the game.1 Although most ball contacts are made with the lower limbs, headers, when the ball is intentionally hit with the head instead of the foot, are frequent plays. When the head makes contact with another mobile object, there is, of course, a possibility for brain injury. Historical and recent research suggests that sports with exposure to repetitive head impacts (RHIs), such as US football and boxing, are associated with neurodegenerative diseases, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy.2-4 Professional soccer has recently been associated with higher mortality associated with neurodegenerative disease, but lower rates of cardiovascular disease.5
Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
Banks SJ, Mez J. New Insights Into the APOE ε4–Soccer Heading Interaction: Handle With Care. JAMA Neurol. 2020;77(4):417–418. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.4451
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: