Research Study: Heading in Soccer Can Cause Concussion, But Not Severe Brain Injury (2016)

Heading in Youth Soccer

Professor John O’Kane from the University of Washington in the United States has conducted a review of heading in youth soccer to determine the risk of brain injury.

A search through the research using the terms soccer and concussion, heading and concussion, and youth soccer and concussion was conducted. 310 articles were identified and reviewed for content relating to youth athletes, heading, and/or acute or chronic brain injury from soccer.

The study found some evidence that heading can cause concussion in children, but not permanent, or severe, brain injury.

“There is no evidence that heading in youth soccer causes any permanent brain injury and there is limited evidence that heading in youth soccer can cause concussion. A reasonable approach based on U.S. Youth Soccer recommendations is to teach heading after age 10 in controlled settings, and heading in games should be delayed until skill acquisition and physical maturity allow the youth player to head correctly with confidence.”Professor John O'Kane, Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington, UWMC Sports Medicine Center at Husky Stadium, Seattle, USA

Read the abstract here.

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