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"Doctors found evidence of brain damage" but Dr. Weingart lies in your face: "Don't worry parents!".

children get hard hit on their heads and it is not an issue for Weingart:

"That would be misleading," he said. "There's not enough data. ... To think that this is something brewing in
many players -- there's no data to support that statement."

Weingart said the relationship between multiple traumas and head hits and CTE is not a proven cause and
effect. At this point, it's a correlation.

Doctors found evidence of brain damage, called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, that has been observed in
retired players who've had many concussions. Unlike those older players, Henry was 26 when he died.

CTE is also known as dementia pugilistica, because career boxers who've suffered repeated blows to the head
have been known to develop the syndrome. Sudden stops and collisions can cause the brain to slosh inside the

Its effects are mainly neurobehavioral. These symptoms include poor decision-making, behavioral problems,
failure at personal and business relationships, use of drugs and alcohol, depression and suicide.

"The effect on the brain appears to be damages to the emotional circuitry of the brain," said Dr. Julian Bailes,
chairman of neurosurgery at West Virginia University.

November 29, 2011 10:20 AM

Soccer study ties "heading" to brain damage

By Ryan Jaslow

(CBS) Heads up, soccer players.

A jarring new study suggests that "heading" a soccer ball too much can cause brain damage.
Using MRI-like technology known as diffusion tensor imaging, researchers scanned the brains of 38 amateur
soccer players - average ages of 31. Then the researchers asked them to recall the number of times they headed
the ball in the past year. For those of us who don't bend it like Beckham, heading is deliberately striking the
soccer ball with your noggin.
When the researchers compared the players head frequencies to their brain scans, they found that frequent
headers were more likely to show evidence of mild traumatic brain injury - similar to what's seen in people who
suffer concussions.
Just how many heads is too much? Further analysis determined the damage threshold to be between 1,000 to
1,500 heads per year. Once players exceeded that, their scans showed significant injury.
"While heading a ball 1,000 or 1,500 times a year may seem high to those who don't participate in the sport, it
only amounts to a few times a day for a regular player," study author Dr. Michael Lipton, associate director of
the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said in a written
The soccer players also underwent cognitive tests. Frequent headers performed worse on memory and had
worse hand-eye coordination.
The study authors said the impact of a soccer ball, which can travel 34 miles per hour, isn't strong enough to
destroy the brains' nerves, but is likely causing other damage.
"Repetitive heading could set off a cascade of responses that can lead to degeneration of brain cells," Lipton
said in a written statement released by the Radiological Society of North America. The researchers identified
five areas of the brain that were affected by frequent heading, including regions that control attention, memory,
and vision.
The findings, presented at an annual meeting of the Society, could raise concerns for parents and participants of
one of the nation's most popular youth sports. Eighteen million Americans play soccer, 78 percent of which are
younger than 18.
Football players may risk more than bruises and broken bones. Evidence is mounting
that repeated concussions many pro athletes suffer can cause chronic traumatic
encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease marked by depression, dementia,
and other Alzheimer's-like symptoms. But to find out the exact cause of CTE, researchers
need to be able to study athletes' brains.

That's where NFL players come in. Keep clicking to meet 13 players - some living and
some deceased - who are in the vanguard of pro athletes to have donated or announced
their intention to donate their brains to science.

The study also adds to an ongoing debate on concussion and brain damage risk from sports. Repeated blows to
the head suffered on the football field has been linked to a form of brain damage called chronic traumatic
encephalopathy, CBS News reported.
Can soccer players prevent brain injury? Since heading is an essential part of the game unlikely to go anywhere,
Lipton suggests soccer organizations establish guidelines with heading counts, similar to how Little League
organizations put pitching counts on players to curb shoulder injuries .
Said Lipton, "Given that soccer is the most popular sport worldwide and is played extensively by children, these
are findings that should be taken into consideration in order to protect soccer players."

Players' brain study finds 2 main

symptom patterns
Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press
Researchers think chronic traumatic encephalopathy could involve two distinct patterns
of symptoms.

CHICAGO Early signs of a destructive brain disease linked with head blows
might include mood changes in younger athletes and mental decline at older ages, a
small study of deceased former players suggests.
The researchers think the disease could involve two distinct patterns of symptoms,
although the study doesn't prove that the behavior reported by families was caused by
the brain disease, which was found after the athletes died.
The study is the largest report on a series of cases involving autopsy-confirmed chronic
traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, said lead author Robert Stern, a neurology professor
at Boston University's medical school. It involved 36 former athletes mostly
professional football players who'd experienced repeated head blows. Their brains
were donated for research by their families.
The results were published online Wednesday in the journal Neurology. Results were
based on brain imaging after death, medical records and family interviews. Players
involved were all men, aged 17 to 98. Six died from suicide.
In younger players, mood and behavior changes, including depression and explosive
tempers, began appearing at an average age of 35, long before mental decline. But in
older players, mental decline, starting around age 59, was the first symptom.
Overall, 22 players first developed mood or behavior changes and 11 initially had
memory problems or other mental decline. Three players had no symptoms.
The results echo research in former boxers with "punch drunk" symptoms, but that
evidence didn't include brain imaging, Stern said.
He said he hopes the study will help lead to ways of diagnosing CTE before death and
treating the disease.
The researchers acknowledged the study's limitations, including the small size and lack
of a comparison group of former players without the disease. Larger studies might reveal
other distinct patterns of symptoms, they said.
Little is known about CTE and its causes, but repeated head injuries including
concussions are thought to be a risk factor. The disease process is thought to begin long
before symptoms appear and involves an increasing buildup of abnormal proteins in the
But Stern said, "there's no way to ever make a link directly between symptoms" and
brain disease found after death.
Jeffrey Kutcher, director of a University of Michigan sports neurology program, echoed
that comment and said the study athletes' symptoms could have been caused by
something other than CTE, including depression, medication use, sleep deprivation, or
normal aging.
Several former NFL stars have been diagnosed with the disease after death in recent
years, including Junior Seau, Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling, who all had troubling
symptoms and committed suicide.
Thousands of former players have sued the NFL, claiming the league withheld
information about damaging effects of repeated head blows and concussions.
"The bottom line is, there's very little direct evidence of chronic effects of head trauma,"
Kutcher [lying in your face!] said. "As a neurologist, I know that brains don't like to
experience" repeated head blows. "On the other side, I know that the majority of people
who experience these forces do not have life-altering clinical outcomes."
A recent National Institutes of Health report said big questions remain for CTE research,
including how prevalent it is; do genes make some people more vulnerable to it and how
can it be diagnosed before death.

Occasional bumps and bruises are expected when kids play sports, but for more than
1.35 million children last year a sports-related injury was severe enough to send them to
a hospital emergency department.

Like previous studies, the new report shows that in sports in which both girls and boys
participate, girls report a higher percentage of concussions. Among youth basketball
players, for example, 11.5% of girls seen in the ER are diagnosed with concussions,
compared with 7.2% of boys. Among soccer players, it's 17.1% of girls compared with
12.4% of boys.

Doctors more stupid than the teenagers:

It's unclear what accounts for the variation, says sports medicine physician
Kathryn Ackerman, co-director of the Female Athlete Program at Boston
Children's Hospital. "We are still looking into it, trying to see if there are really
genetic differences, differences in play, or differences in biomechanics, but we
don't have that link yet."

Junior Seau's family donating brain to

researchers studying impact of NFL
Published May 04, 2012
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The family of former NFL star Junior Seau will donate his brain for medical study into the
impact of repetitive concussions on football players following his shock suicide.

San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell told the Los Angeles Times that the family
decided to allow access to researchers investigating the long-term effects of head hits
"to help other individuals down the road."
Seau, who played pro football for 20 seasons, was found dead by his girlfriend inside
their home in Oceanside, near San Diego, on Wednesday, with a gunshot wound to his

The 43-year-old's suicide echoed the death of ex-Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson,
who fatally shot himself in the chest, at age 50, 14 months ago.

After struggling with depression for many years, Duerson left a note for his family
directing them to donate his brain to the Boston University School of Medicine for
research into Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy (CTE).

Researchers from the Boston school later ruled that Duerson suffered from a
neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions, which was a factor in bringing on his

Boston's Sports Legacy Institute was competing with the Brain Injury Research Institute
(BIRI) for access to Seau's brain, Pro Football Talk reported.

Dr. Bennet Omalu -- the chief medical officer for San Joaquin County, who cofounded BIRI
-- flew into San Diego to participate in Seau's autopsy, ESPN reported, citing sources.

Although Seau left no note, the San Diego Medical Examiner's Office announced
Thursday afternoon that his death was classified as a suicide and said it was awaiting the
family's decision "regarding study of the brain for repetitive injury by researchers outside
of the office."

Mitchell confirmed the family's intentions Thursday night.

"The family was considering this almost from the beginning, but they didn't want to
make any emotional decisions," he said. "And when they came to a joint decision that
absolutely this was the best thing, it was a natural occurrence for the Seau family to go

The studies into chronic brain damage came amid widespread litigation against the NFL
by former players over the impact of past concussions, including a suit of more than 100
ex-pros filed Thursday.

More than 1,600 former players were pursuing legal action, accusing the league of failing
to do enough to protect them from subsequent brain injuries. The league denies
misleading players

Modern version of human sacrifices
Death of high school football player
leads to fight for internal injury
By Amanda Woerner
Published August 30, 2013

Brian and Kathy Haugen stand near a photo of their son, Taylor Haugen. The
Haugens have donated nearly 800 EvoShield HYBRIDPRO Protective Rib shirts
(shown here) to young athletes since Taylor's death. (Devon Ravine Northwest
Florida Daily News)

While concussions and head injuries have been major concerns for football players for
years, one Florida couple is seeking to draw attention to another threat to young players
internal injuries.
Five years ago today, Brian and Kathy Haugens 15-year-old son, Taylor, was playing as a
wide receiver on his junior varsity football team at Niceville High School, in Niceville, Fla.,
when he was thrown a pass that flew slightly above his head. As he reached upward,
stretching out his body, Taylor was hit with tackles from both front and back.
Doctors would later say the force of the impact was equivalent to a high speed car
After the tackle, Taylor attempted to rejoin his teams huddle but quickly collapsed on the
sidelines. Tragically, the Haugens only son died later that day of severe internal injuries
to his liver.
As a result of their loss, the Haugens are now determined to educate parents and
athletes on the risks of internal injury in football and the protective gear available for
young players.
Would you send your child on the football field without a helmet? Of course not, Kathy
told Thats in the forefront right now, but this is not. But its very similar,
in that its protecting vital organs.
The Haugens refer to their campaign as the third wave of football injury prevention. The
first wave involved educating coaches and players on the dangers of dehydration and
heat stroke a campaign that resulted in the addition of hydration stations to the
sidelines of every practice and game nationwide. The second wave: the fight to prevent
concussions and head injuries among players.
The third generation will be this internal injury, abdominal injury awareness, Kathy
Intense short-term damage
Dr. Edward Metz Barksdale, division chief of pediatric surgery at University Hospitals
Case Medical Center in Cleveland estimates that large hospitals will see seven to 10
young players with severe internal injuries each year, while smaller hospitals will see
anywhere from three to five.
Major organs we see injuries to are the spleen, then the liver, then the kidney,
Barksdale said. You would think statistically wed see more liver because its larger, but
the spleen is more fragile, and the liver is more protected by the rib cage. Hits in football
are more to the side and to the flank.
Though Barksdale said deaths due to internal injury in football players are rare, its
important for coaches, family members and spectators to be aware of the risk of this
type of injury after major tackles, in order to expedite treatment and prevent long term
damage to internal organs.
The important thing to recognize is that when your kid is a 155 pound, 61 wide
receiver getting hit by a 230 pound linebacker and a 185 pound safety, that combined
force is a big deal, Barksdale said.
Major acute risks involved in internal organ injuries include unrecognized bleeding and
significant injury to the organ that causes it to experience long-term failure, according to
Barksdale. Fortunately, most internal organs are able to recover if they are treated
quickly. However, young athletes are at a higher risk for this type of injury than more
mature players.
What we know about the pediatric, teenage population is they have less muscle, less
abdominal fat, so the distance between where force occurs and where organs are
compressed against the spine is much less, Barksdale said. That is one of the factors
that predisposes to significant injuries. Thats why in teens we see a much greater risk to
injury in internal organs than men who have more muscle, stronger bones.
Though ample studies have been done in recent years on the risks of head injuries in
athletes, the Haugens say their fight to promote internal injury awareness has been
hampered by a lack of research and awareness on the subject.
People will say, But its not very common. And well say, What? Fatality or the
abdominal injuries? Concussions arent (always) fatal either, Brian said. But we realize
now its a big deal. And I think well realize later this is a big deal.
While Barksdale noted that head injuries create more long-lasting damage, organ injuries
present more short-term damage to patients.
The brain is in a closed space, and nerve tissue doesnt regenerate, so a concussion or
brain injury has much more serious long-term effects and were only beginning now to
get a better idea (of that), Barksdale said. For organ injury, major damage will occur
immediately, but our internal organs have the capacity to recover.
The YESS program
In order to create awareness after Taylors death, the Haugens formed the Taylor Haugen
Foundations Youth Equipment for Sports Safety (YESS) program.
The mission of the YESS program is we want to educate and equip middle and high
school athletes with equipment commonly worn in the pros and college, but not known
to middle and high school athletes and their parents, Brian said.
As a part of this mission, the Haugens, along with Jacqueline Griffin, mother of
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, have teamed up with EvoShield,
creators of custom-molded body shields. This week, they are launching the
#ProtectiveParent campaign, which seeks to educate parents and athletes about the
protective measures they should be taking on the field.
According to Barksdale, who has two sons that play Division I football and another son
that plays high school football, making high-impact sports like football, or even soccer,
risk-free is nearly impossible. However, taking appropriate safety and prevention
measures could make a big difference in the risk of damage from internal injuries.
Its incumbent on us to make sure kids are trained with proper tackling techniques. We
have a dynamic process of reassessing the game to make it safe, Barksdale said. We
also need to look at protective garments, such as the Evoshield. Though that will not
protect against some of the hits, it will offer some degree of protection.
In the past five years, the Taylor Haugen Foundation has also donated over 780
protective shirts to athletes across the country.
We feel like if parents knew that this equipment was available, theyd make sure their
kid wore it, Brian said. If we knew this was available, (Taylor) would have worn it.
For more information on the #ProtectiveParents campaign, go to
For more information on YESS and the Taylor Haugen Foundation go to

Read more:


College football players have visible brain changes

By Andrew M. Seaman
NEW YORK Tue May 13, 2014

(Reuters Health) - The brains of college football players may already display the effects of
years of taking hits, according to a new brain imaging study.
Players who had been diagnosed with concussions and those who had been playing for years
had smaller hippocampuses - a brain structure critical to memory - compared to those who
never played football or played for fewer years, researchers found.
Boys hear about the long-term effect on guys when theyre retired from football, but this
shows that 20-year-olds might be having some kind of effect, said Patrick Bellgowan, the
studys senior author from the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The researchers write in JAMA that they didnt find any differences in behavior between
players and non-players, but Bellgowan told Reuters Health that a smaller hippocampus is
linked to depression, schizophrenia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
There has been growing concern over whether the connection between contact sports - like
football - and CTE, which is a brain disease known to affect some athletes who experience
repeated hits to the head, may extend to younger players.
We keep hearing about retired football players having diseases that relate back to smaller
hippocampuses, Bellgowan said. Maybe this is just the precursor of it.
The symptoms of CTE, which tend to set in years after the last traumas, often include memory
loss, aggression and dementia.
Between June 2011 and August 2013 the researchers recruited 25 college football players who
had been diagnosed with a concussion, 25 players without a history of diagnosed concussion
and 25 similar young men who had never played.
The participants had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of their brains and researchers used the
images to measure the volume of certain brain regions. The athletes also took a computerized
test to assess their cognitive abilities.
The researchers found that college athletes had hippocampuses between 17 percent and 26
percent smaller than non-athletes. Those who had been diagnosed with concussions also had
smaller hippocampuses than the players without past concussions.
The longer the young men had played football, the smaller their hippocampuses were and the
slower their reaction time on one of the tests.
People try to understand why some NFL players have what looks like Alzheimers in their
forties, Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian said. How did they get there? I think this study points out the
early stages of that.
Bazarian was not involved with the new research, but has studied the brains of young athletes at
the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York.
Maybe there is something going on early on, he said. None of these players were feeling bad
but their brain structure isnt normal.
Both Bellgowan and Bazarian said it will take longer studies to find out whether a smaller
hippocampus may cause problems for these athletes in the future.
For now, Bellgowan suggested that parents and coaches take a conservative approach when
dealing with student athletes by taking them to specialists when they walk off the field with a
The conservative approach is what Im hoping to get out there, he said.
Bellgowan is also on the faculty at the University of Tulsa, where, he said, "Participation of the
athletic department was essential to this work."
SOURCE: JAMA, online May 13, 2014.

Message body

In the lands of the Middle East and areas around the

Mediterranean Sea, this involved the ritual murder of
children, often in fire and presided over by a priesthood
with the approval of the worshippers.

(CNN)Every year, almost half a million (PDF) children
across the United States visit emergency rooms for
concussions. But recent studies find that number may
undercount just how many kids really have concussions.
In fact, a study published in the June 20 edition of the
journal Pediatrics estimates that the number of
concussions among those 18 years old and younger is
higher, possibly between 1.1 million and 1.9 million
<img alt="U.S.
youth soccer players told:
Don't head
the ball "
U.S. youth soccer players told: Don't head the ball
Currently, national rates of concussion from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention are based on
emergency room visits only. However, very few concussion
diagnoses actually happen in the ER. According to
researchers, more than half a million children with
concussions were not seen in the ER or by a physician at
Analyzing data from three national databases tracking
concussion -- MarketScan, the National Electronic Injury
Surveillance System and the National High School Sports
Related Injury Surveillance System -- researchers in the
new study found that between 115,000 and 167,000
children's concussions were diagnosed in the ER. Doctor
visits accounted for just 378,000 concussion diagnoses.
The vast majority of children's concussions, between half a
million and a million, were seen by an athletic trainer.
Another study done this year of the Children's Hospital of
Philadelphia system evaluated more than 8,000 youth
concussion diagnoses and found that 82% were made in a
doctor's office; just 12% of diagnoses were made in the
Read More
The bottom line is that most kids are getting diagnosed
outside the emergency room, and as a result, the number
of concussions among children may be much higher than
'We aren't looking in the right places'

According to the CDC, which helped fund and support the

research from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, that
study "highlights a substantial gap in how the United
States currently estimates the nation's burden of pediatric
concussions, and underscores the need for better
Kristy Arbogast, lead author of the paper, said, "If, as a
country, we're relying on [emergency room visits], we're
probably missing a meaningful majority of [concussions]
that we aren't counting because we aren't looking in the
right places to count."

alt="Moms to Congress:
It's time to
protect kids in contact sports"
Moms to Congress: Protect kids in contact sports
President Obama's 2017 budget includes a request for $5
million to establish and oversee a National Concussion
Surveillance System that would track concussions through
a national household telephone survey system.
Arbogast is a scientific director at the Center for Injury
Research and Prevention at the Children's Hospital of
Philadelphia. She and her team looked at concussion
diagnoses in that hospital's system, which, along with the
hospital and doctors' practices, includes two urgent-care
They found that while there tends to be a lot of concern
about concussion among high school athletes and older
children, a third of concussion diagnoses happened in
children younger than 12. Children under the age of 4
were most likely to get their diagnoses in the ER, while
older children were more likely to go to a pediatrician's
Despite concerns over underreporting, Arbogast believes
that the findings were very positive, because pediatricians
were being utilized over ERs.
alt="School problems in children after
School problems in children after concussions
She said that concussion diagnoses can be very nuanced
and that ERs weren't always best equipped to diagnose
them. "Until we get objective measures of concussion -- we
don't have a blood test; we don't have an X-ray -- we
believe a pediatrician is best suited to diagnose a
concussion because of its subjective nuance presentation."
Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician and author of "Expecting
411," agreed: "Families can and should utilize their child's
primary care provider first for most of these injuries. Most
children do not need an imaging study. They just need a
thorough medical evaluation, education on brain rest and
return to play/learning, and follow-up to ensure the injury
has resolved."
When should you go to the hospital?

Tamara McLeod, director of the athletic training program

at A.T. Still University in Missouri, said there are some red
flags that warrant an ER trip, including:

if the child's mental status is deteriorating

if the child can't carry on a coherent conversation

if the child continues to vomit

if their eyes aren't tracking and they can't keep their
gaze on you
"With children, any loss of consciousness, you probably
want to have them evaluated in the ER," McLeod said.
Join the conversation
See the latest news and share your comments with CNN
Health on Facebook and Twitter.
However, Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine specialist at
the the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said the
ER should not be the first stop.
"The ER is very expensive, not a cost-efficient way of
doing care," he said. Instead, Metzl advises to first talk to
your health care provider.
Metzl said recent awareness of concussions has
heightened parents' concern about the issue. "The end
result is this almost hysteria about this injury. ... The vast
majority of young athletes [conditions] resolve within less
than a day and never have any problems the rest of their
But Metzl added that "concussion is a serious injury when
it happens. ... For a long time in the sports medicine
world, we probably didn't do nearly good enough job
taking care of it."

U.S. youth soccer players told: Don't

head the ball
By Greg Botelho, CNN
Updated 2:33 PM ET, Tue November 10, 2015
(CNN)Soccer players have two major ways to propel a ball
forward: use your legs or use your head.
In America, at least, youngsters can cross that second
option off the list.
U.S. Soccer, the governing body for the sport in the United
States, announced Monday that there should be no
heading for any players age 10 and under, while limiting
the amount of heading during practice for those ages 11
to 13.
The directive has taken effect for those who participate in
U.S. Soccer's Youth National Teams and its Development
Academy, programs that represent a fraction of the more
than 3 million who played the sport nationwide in 2014,
according to the U.S. Youth Soccer Association. That latter
figure is exponentially higher than it was a few decades
ago and roughly split between boys and girls.
Still, if it's up to U.S. Soccer, all relevant programs around
this country will take the same step.
Read More
How can we keep young soccer players safe?
"Some of the youth members joining in the initiative do
not have direct authority at the local level to require the
adaption of the rules," U.S. Soccer said in a statement,
explaining it's up to individual associations to adopt the
new policy. "Although they are only recommendations,
they are based on the advice of the U.S. Soccer medical
committee, and therefore U.S. Soccer strongly urges that
they be followed."
Agreement after U.S. soccer groups sued
The declaration comes on the heels of a 2014 lawsuit filed
against U.S. Soccer, U.S. Youth Soccer, the American Youth
Soccer Organization, U.S. Club Soccer and the California
Youth Soccer Association.
The agreement with those plaintiffs, announced Monday,
includes other reforms in addition to the new directive on
heading. These includes steps to improve concussion
awareness among coaches, referees, parents and players;
and set up uniform concussion management and return-to-
play protocols. And while some programs restrict the
number of substitutions in a game, from here on out
anyone taken out because of a suspected concussion
shouldn't count against a team's substitution total.
Steve Berman, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said the
litigation all along aimed "to focus the attention on U.S.
Soccer and its youth member organizations."
"We feel we have accomplished our primary goal," Berman
added. "... We are pleased that we were able to play a role
in improving the safety of the sport for soccer-playing
children in this country."

<img alt="Headers have long

been part of the sport of soccer, as seen in this 2014 World
Cup match between Uruguay and Colombia."
Headers have long been part of the sport of soccer, as
seen in this 2014 World Cup match between Uruguay and
While U.S. Soccer mentioned this lawsuit, the sports
organization insisted this week that concussion-geared
measures were in the works regardless.
Concussions in sports have gotten heightened attention in
recent years, in large part due to widely reported cases --
including many examples of traumatic brain injuries --
involving football players.
Yet football isn't the only sport where concussions are a
problem, a fact highlighted by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention's "HEADS UP Concussion in Youth
Sports" program.
Report: Heading not leading culprit of concussions
A 2007 study of U.S. high school and college athletes,
published in the Journal of Athletic Training, found that
soccer came in second only to football when it comes to
reported concussions. Girls' soccer was the second-most
susceptible sub-group, followed by boys' soccer and girls'
A study published five years later in the American Journal
of Sports Medicine came to similar conclusions, finding
that about half of all the concussions it examined were in
football, while girls' soccer (and, after that, boys'
wrestling and girls' basketball) had the next highest
More recently, researchers looked at concussions among
U.S. high school soccer players and found rates in girls'
and boys' high school soccer had risen between 2005 and
2014. For every 10,000 "athlete exposures" -- meaning a
student participating in a game or practice -- the study
calculated 4.5 concussions for girls and 2.8 among boys, a
rate less than half that for football but still significant.
Heading a soccer ball wasn't the main reason, with the
report finding that players were more likely to suffer
concussions after other forms of physical contact.
"If we can enforce the rules and minimize player-to-player
contact, that could get rid of 60% of concussions, plus that
would reduce other injuries," said study co-author Sarah
K. Fields, an associate professor of communication at the
University of Colorado-Denver.
Push in UK to minimize heading
So what -- or, perhaps, where -- is next?
Like the sport itself, talk of concussions in soccer isn't
confined to the United States. It came up in the latest
World Cup when German midfielder Christoph Kramer
appeared dazed after his head collided with an
Argentinian player.
And it's been a hot topic in England's Premier League --
which requires players who suffer head injuries to come of
the field and be examined by doctors and where Chelsea
manager Jose Mourinho had a falling out with team doctor
Eva Carneiro over an incident earlier this season.
Last year, British parliamentarian Chris Bryant
spearheaded a report titled "Concussions Can Kill" and
called for minimizing headers among young players in his
Dale Headley admits he's been worried about head trauma
involving his 13-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter
while they play in London. Thankfully, they do their part to
steer clear of headers: His daughter Morgan "won't touch
the ball on her head, even if her life depended on it," while
son Owen "is not thrilled about" the idea.
"You can still see him cringe if it's coming in, because it
hurts," Headley said.
While preferring that children use softer balls rather than
stop learning altogether how to head properly, Headley
acknowledges that he finds research on the damage that
can be caused to players "disturbing."
"It's a dangerous business," he said.