Soccer ball 'heading' linked to brain injuries: Study

Frequent headers could cause damage associated with traumatic brain injury, according to a recent...

Frequent headers could cause damage associated with traumatic brain injury, according to a recent study.

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:56 PM ET

Use your feet, not your head, when you play soccer, a new study warns.

Soccer players who frequently head the ball can have brain abnormalities similar to those found in people who've had concussions, according to researchers from Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

"We studied soccer players because soccer is the world's most popular sport," Dr. Michael L. Lipton said. "Soccer is widely played by people of all ages and there is concern that heading the ball — a key component of the sport — might damage the brain."

The researchers performed advanced MRI tests on 37 amateur adult soccer players who had played since they were kids and played for an average of 10 months over the previous year.

The frequent headers were more likely to have damage associated with traumatic brain injury.

"Repetitive heading could set off a cascade of responses that leads to degeneration of brain cells over time," Lipton said.


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