We have seen lots of coverage in the news about traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) resulting from American football injuries. However, soccer players can also receive serious head injuries on the field.
A key move in soccer is “heading,” wherein the player knocks the ball forward using the top of his or her skull. Doing this once or a few times will not have a huge effect on the brain, but repetitive trauma could lead to disorders, according to some research.
“Heading a soccer ball is not an impact of a magnitude that will lacerate nerve fibers in the brain,” said researcher Michael L. Lipton, MD, Ph.D, “but repetitive heading could set off a cascade of responses that could lead to degeneration of brain cells.”
How many headings constitute “repetitive heading?” Scientists say that athletes who head the ball between 1,000 to 1,500 times a year are most at risk of developing TBI. That works out to between two and four headers every day for a year.
Lipton advised coaches to minimize headings wherever possible, “especially during practice drills where players often head the ball back and forth 30 or more times.”
It makes sense that repeated headings can eventually lead to traumatic brain injuries: childrens’ skulls are not as strong as adults’, and soccer balls can build up impressive velocity. If your child takes soccer lessons, make sure they know about the TBI risks. If your child was injured through a sports program, give us a call at (615) 690-2080. There is no charge to discuss a potential case with us.
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Law Office of Stanley A. Davis – Nashville injury lawyer