Is Heading a Soccer Ball Bad for the Brain?

‘Heading’ the ball is a signature move in professional soccer – but is bouncing a ball off the skull bad for the brain?

Posted: Jul 13, 2018 7:37 AM

CLEVELAND – ‘Heading’ the ball is a signature move in professional soccer – but is bouncing a ball off the skull bad for the brain?

According to Richard Figler, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, contrary to popular belief, most head injuries and concussions in soccer are actually not the result of heading.

“It is the act of actually going to head the ball, where people come into contact with each other; whether it’s a head-to-head contact, or head to elbow contact, or head to shoulder contact, or getting knocked over and falling on the ground – that’s where the majority of concussions take place. Heading the ball itself is not a common cause of concussion in soccer.” said Dr. Figler.

Dr. Figler said younger children are at greater risk for concussion during soccer than teens or adults because by nature, children have smaller neck sizes and less neck strength, which can impact their ability to absorb an impact to the head.

This is why The United States Soccer Federation prohibits children younger than 11 from heading the ball during practice or competitive play.

Dr. Figler said delaying ball-heading during practice and during games is designed to allow children to grow stronger and perfect their skill to hopefully minimize the risk of concussion.

When it comes to protecting players of all ages, he said it all comes down to concussion education and awareness.

Previous research has shown that recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion right away, and getting an injured player off of the field, has a direct impact on their ability to recover quickly.

Dr. Figler said players, parents and coaches need to know what to look for.

“If you see somebody get hit in the head, looking dazed, looking confused; their eyes looking glossed-over; stumbling after they’ve been hit, especially at a younger age, those are all signs and symptoms of concussion and you need to get them off the field,” he said.

Likewise, if an athlete gets hit and feels an immediate headache, feels dizzy or lightheaded, confused, or has a ringing in the ears, these are also all signs that they should cease activity and be appropriately evaluated.

Dr. Figler said if a parent has a child who is interested in pursuing soccer, it’s important to make sure they have a good coach who can teach them skill development which can minimize their risk of injury.

He said it’s also good to remember that the benefit of playing sports – increased physical activity, social engagement, and better overall health both physically and mentally – often outweigh the risks that go along with it.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 3927

Reported Deaths: 148
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah104058
Marion90525
Washington69017
Clackamas29010
Deschutes1190
Linn1169
Umatilla1113
Polk9610
Lane672
Yamhill657
Jackson570
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath410
Coos310
Malheur280
Josephine251
Jefferson250
Douglas250
Wasco181
Columbia160
Hood River120
Morrow120
Lincoln90
Tillamook60
Curry60
Union60
Crook50
Wallowa20
Sherman10
Grant10
Harney10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 94020

Reported Deaths: 3754
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles450172106
San Diego6559249
Riverside6464290
Orange5336131
San Bernardino4365176
Alameda284793
Santa Clara2617139
San Francisco236740
San Mateo183376
Kern182429
Tulare164175
Santa Barbara155112
Fresno144822
Contra Costa132136
Sacramento129356
Imperial114523
Ventura91230
San Joaquin75233
Stanislaus62928
Kings5172
Sonoma4824
Solano45520
Monterey3958
Marin38814
San Luis Obispo2581
Merced2516
Santa Cruz1922
Yolo19022
Placer1849
Napa1013
Humboldt932
Madera842
El Dorado740
San Benito702
Nevada411
Sutter402
Shasta364
Butte340
Mono341
Yuba281
Del Norte230
Mendocino210
Inyo191
Mariposa151
Calaveras130
Lake120
Glenn120
Amador100
Siskiyou61
Colusa50
Plumas40
Tuolumne30
Tehama31
Alpine20
Lassen20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 55°
Brookings
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 51°
Crater Lake
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 49°
Grants Pass
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 55°
Klamath Falls
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 49°
Hot temperatures next week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Sunday, May 24 evening weather

Image

Sunday, May 24 morning weather

Image

Saturday, May 23 evening weather

Image

Saturday, May 23 morning weather

Image

Nate Bittle wins Prep Boys Basketball Player of the Year

Image

The City of Ashland is deciding what's next for the city hall building

Image

Friday, May 22nd Evening Weather

Image

Grants Pass optimistic amid tax revenue loss

Image

Ashland projects millions in tax revenue losses

Image

Tax revenue takes big hit during COVID-19