Soccer Players: More Headers, More Concussions?
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Soccer players who head the ball a lot are three times more likely to have concussion symptoms than players who don't head the ball often, according to a new study.
Players whose heads were hit in a collision two or more times in a two-week period were six times more likely to have concussion symptoms than players who did not have any unintentional head trauma, such as a ball hitting the back of the head or a head colliding with another player's knee, according to a new study published in the February issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
"These results show that heading the ball is indeed related to concussion symptoms, which is contrary to a recent study that suggested that collisions were responsible for most concussions," study author Michael L. Lipton said. "The findings raise concerns about the long-term effects from heading the ball, and more research is needed."
A total of 222 players completed 470 questionnaires for the study; 79 percent were men. Men had an average of 44 headers in two weeks and women had an average of 27. One or more unintentional head impacts were reported by 37 percent of men and 43 percent of women.
Those in the group with the most headers were three times more likely to have symptoms than those who headed the ball the least. The players with two or more unintentional impacts were six times more likely to have symptoms than those with no unintentional impacts.
Lipton said one limitation of the study is that the information was self-reported by the participants, which could introduce errors in recollection. He also noted that the results cannot be generalized to soccer players who are teenagers, children or professional players.