U.S. Capital

Study Suggests Heading Soccer Balls Increases Chances of Poor Cognitive Functioning

Jun 18, 2018

Brooks Schuelke, Esq.
Schuelke Law PLLC

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 18, 2018 –
Repeatedly heading soccer balls may have a much greater effect on cognitive abilities than previously thought. Soccer players are at greater risk of poor cognitive functioning due to routinely heading the ball during play.

A recent study, published in Frontiers in Neurology, conducted on 308 adult soccer players between the ages 18 to 55, demonstrated that players heading the ball frequently did not do well when tested for attention, psychomotor speed and memory.

According to the lead author of this study, Dr. Michael Lipton, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of New York City, “The focus in terms of head injury in sports has really been on concussions and recognized symptomatic impacts to the head, typically due to players colliding with each other or falling down. And it’s probably misguided to be so tunnel-vision focused on concussion as the problem.”

Players participating in the study filled out a questionnaires about two-week periods of playing soccer and noted how many times they headed the ball versus had a fall, or collision involving a head impact with another player. The players were given several tests to address verbal, working memory, attention, verbal learning and psychomotor speed. During the course of the two-year study, participating players took the initial tests at least once.

The results revealed players headed soccer balls at least 45 times in each two-week period. Half of the male players headed the ball about 50 times and half of the female players headed it at least 26 times, or more. Both groups of players also had at least one head impact incident. The players that reported higher numbers of “headings” performed poorly on cognitive and functional tasks. However, the effect on memory was minimal.

According to Dr. Lipton, the most interesting conclusion of this study is that in a particular group of players, for those who headed the ball the most, there was “an adverse effect on cognitive function . . . explained only by heading, [and] that concussions and collisions do not in any way explain the effect on cognitive function.” It appears that repetitive headings have a cumulative effect over time as there does not seem to be an immediate injury.

The study shows that change in cognitive function does not cause obvious impairment, but the real concern is what may happen over the long-term? How much heading results in permanent effects? There is no definitive answer for that question yet. “However, it is interesting to note that there is a differentiation between concussions and “heading” and brings a new focus to contact sports from a legal point-of-view,” says Austin traumatic brain injury lawyer, Brooks Schuelke.

Learn more at http://www.civtrial.com

Schuelke Law PLLC
3011 N. Lamar Blvd
Ste. 200
Austin, TX 78705
Call (512) 476-4944

View Larger Map

  • Dog Bite Law: Was A Dog Attack At The Center Of The NCIS Disputes?
    It’s not often that one of my practice areas collides with popular culture.  For years, I’ve had the honor of representing a number of victims of dog attacks.  These are often horrible, serious incidents because of the emotional toll that a victim experiences from an attack. Imagine my surprise then when I saw a story […]
  • A Big Texas Supreme Court Win For Personal Injury Victims
    Yesterday, the Texas Supreme Court handed down an important opinion that will help many plaintiffs. In personal injury cases, when a victim goes to the hospital after a wreck and doesn’t have insurance, the hospital can file a lien against the victim’s eventual settlement.  That means that at the end of the case, the client […]
  • Another Reason To Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage – Hit-And-Run Wrecks Are On The Rise
    Earlier this week, AAA released a study finding that hit-and-run wrecks are an increasing problem.  Among the study’s findings: A hit-and-run wreck occurs every minute on US roads Hit-and-run wrecks are increasing, with hit-and-run deaths increasing particularly fast One in eight wrecks involves a hit-and-run driver In 2016, there were 2,049 hit-and-run deaths, a record […]