Can Soccer Headers Cause Brain Damage?
Soccer moms everywhere have a new thing to worry about - it turns out that repeatedly heading soccer balls isn't great for young noggins.
Researchers from New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine decided to see what they’d find after doing brain scans on adults who “played soccer since childhood” and played in 12-month soccer leagues and determined how many of them had headed the ball in the previous year, the New York Times reported.
Their findings: “. . . [P]layers who had headed the ball more than about 1,100 times in the previous 12 months showed significant loss of white matter in parts of their brains involved with memory, attention and the processing of visual information compared with players who had headed the ball fewer times.” Those folks were also “substantially worse at recalling lists of words read to them, forgetting or fumbling the words far more often than players who had headed the ball less often."
A Humboldt State University researcher said that “there is a growing consensus that kids younger than 12 shouldn’t be heading . . . No one is suggesting that heading should be outlawed . . . [but] it’s almost certainly not a good idea to practice heading over and over and over.”
What do you think? Does your child play soccer?