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Repeatedly hitting a soccer ball with one’s head causes adverse brain changes similar to that found in people with traumatic brain injury.
A recent report says that soccer ‘headings’ leads to memory loss. Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that players who headed soccer balls during the last year showed similar changes in their brains as patients who suffered mild traumatic brain damage including problems with memory.
Soccer Ball Headers Cause Brain Trauma:
The study examined the brain imaging of long time soccer players. The brain scans of soccer players showed the occurrence of trauma quite like a traumatic brain injury. These findings show that the trauma is because of repeatedly striking a soccer ball with their heads.
Advanced MRI techniques capable of showing minute changes in the brain tissue were used to scan players’ heads. The results revealed white-matter abnormalities, quite similar to what is seen in those with concussion. These abnormalities also diminished memory function.
An interesting finding of this report was the threshold for injury which was 1,200 soccer headers in one year. Below 1000 per year, there was no problem as the brain seemed to repair itself, but above that number it led to serious brain damage.
Researchers also saw an association between soccer players who repeatedly headed soccer balls and those who had slight memory loss.
The results weren’t due to hard hits between the players or from hitting the pitch, but were the result of frequent contact made by the player’s head with the ball, which is known as Heading. In soccer, heading is commonly used to score goals as well as to control the ball’s direction.
Players who head over 1,800 soccer balls per year were more likely to display poorer memory scores as against those with fewer yearly headers.
Experts advise players to reduce the amount of soccer ball heading, particularly heading drills carried out during practice.
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