Repetitive Heading in Soccer Could Lead to Brain Damage
A study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago suggests that heading a soccer ball can lead to serious brain damage. The finding is that, soccer players who frequently use their head to hit the ball have “brain abnormalities similar to those found in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients.
Researchers came up with this finding by using MRI to scan the brains of 38 soccer players. The data they found led them to the implication that damage to the brain, "“isn’t from hitting headers once in a while, but repetitively, which can lead to degeneration of brain cells.”
The scans also showed that the players who had the highest volume of heads show abnormalities in five areas of the brain.
By compiling gathered data, the researchers found out that damage in the brain starts to occur when the player surpasses 1,000 to 1,500 headers in a year! This is definitely alarming, especially for pro-soccer players who gets headers way more than that!
This study is not meant to scare soccer players, but instead it should serve as a warning on the possible repercussions of using the head against the ball.