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Study: Soccer ‘Headers’ Can Cause Brain Damage

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Two female soccer players competing for the ball, aerial view. (istockphoto)

Two female soccer players competing for the ball, aerial view. (istockphoto)

sandramcneill Sandra McNeill
After graduating from the University of Michigan, Sandra McNeill...
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CBS Detroit (con't)

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DETRIOT (WWJ) – A new study on adults who play soccer is causing concern for soccer moms and dads.

Does your child “head the ball” during soccer? WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reports on a study  that addresses the effects of these ‘headers’.

A new Albert Einstein College of Medicine study on adults in amateur soccer leagues show it can cause significant damage in areas of the brain that control attention, memory, and visual and spatial reasoning.

St. John’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Marcus DeGraw says the study is concerning for children who practice the move frequently.

“The biggest problem is the brain is essentially sloshing around in your skull  being struck by something at high impact causes signficant motion to that brain inside,” said DeGraw.

“Really that the key component of this is any individual small blow like may not cause you any significant trouble but when you get thousands upon thousands of similar impacts over a period of time you may build up damage to a much more serious degree than any individual impact,” said DeGraw.

The study shows most of the heading goes on during practice.  DeGraw says parents shouldn’t tell their children not to head the ball, but it does point to the need for concussion testing on child soccer players.

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