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Frequent Soccer Ball 'Heading' May Lead to Brain Injury

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Frequent Soccer Ball 'Heading' May Lead to Brain Injury

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have shown that soccer players who frequently head the ball have brain abnormalities resembling those found in patients with concussion (mild traumatic brain injury).

 

The study, which used advanced imaging techniques and cognitive tests that assessed memory, published online today in the journal Radiology.

 

"We studied soccer players because soccer is the world's most popular sport," said Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., associate director of Einstein's Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center and medical director of MRI services at Montefiore, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein. "Soccer is widely played by people of all ages and there is concern that heading the ball -- a key component of the sport -- might damage the brain." Dr. Lipton is also associate professor of radiology, of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience at Einstein.


On average, soccer players head the ball six to 12 times during games, where balls can travel at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour. During practice drills, players commonly head the ball 30 or more times. The impact from a single heading is unlikely to cause traumatic brain damage such as laceration of nerve fibers. But scientists have worried that cumulative damage from heading's repeated subconcussive impacts might be clinically significant. "Repetitive heading could set off a cascade of responses that leads to degeneration of brain cells over time," noted Dr. Lipton.

 

References and further information

The original article was produced by the Science Daily website.


To view the rest of this article, visit the Science Daily website.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130611082233.htm

 

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