Repeated heading during soccer is associated with decreased brain function

About the episode

Sorry if you still have to get on the field, but I have bad news for die-hard soccer players who like to use their heads: Headers are bad for your brain.

There have been concerns about brain damage as a result of the effects of exercise for some time. This also applies to sports such as rugby or American football. Especially in the case of young players, where the brain is still developing, this can greatly increase the risk of developing brain diseases later in life.

Now scientists have conducted an extensive two-year study to show with greater certainty what could go wrong. 148 young amateur football players participated in the study. Women too.

The number of times they headed the ball while playing soccer was recorded, and at the beginning and end of the two years, various tests were performed to map their cognitive abilities and the microstructure of the brain.

For example, they saw mild brain damage develop in soccer players who headed frequently, more than 1,500 times in two years. The ability to learn was also affected by this.

More research is always a good thing, but this seems like a pretty obvious warning to me.

Read more about the research here: Heading kicks in soccer are associated with a significant decrease in brain function

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Megan Vasquez

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