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Soccer “Heading” May Be Linked To Brain Damage

Youth Soccer
Getty Images/A. Messerschmidt

A heads up for Moms and Dads.  There’s new research suggesting  there may be a connection between  “heading” a soccer ball too many times and brain damage. 

The Sports Medicine Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics is putting out a word of caution that “heading” drills could lead to issues with attention and concentration deficits as well as other problems. The author of a statement from the committee on the subject, Dr. Bernard Griesemer, says heading drills are of greater concern to the pediatricians’ group than is the occasional head-punt in the course of play.

A newsletter from HeadInjury.com states:

     During the three to four minutes of “heading drills” each week a child will probably be bopped on the head 10 to 15 times by a ball tossed from about 10 feet away.   While coaches and trainers might not see the harm; the nation’s leading group of pediatricians are concerned that the practice of repeated “heading”  a soccer ball could result in lasting brain injury. 

HeadInjury.com details several studies to support the conclusion but goes on to state the studies do not prove “heading” the ball is to blame, and they do not establish how much drilling might be dangerous to the developing brains of children.

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