Soccer ball

Study: Heading a soccer ball causes short-term brain dysfunction

Heading a soccer ball causes at least short-term cognitive dysfunction, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Houston.

High school soccer players who had just completed a practice session that included heading the ball performed worse on an iPad-based cognitive test that measured reaction times compared to non-soccer players.

Previous studies have found brain abnormalities in lifelong soccer players compared to the general population. The most recent study, published in the open access scientific journal PLOS ONEshows that “football playing with the ball head [results] in cognitive changes,” but the study was unable to determine whether the effects were long-lasting. disruption of cognitive performance in footballers [the] the study was probably not due to aerobic activities immediately preceding the test session.”

“The most conservative interpretation of our results is that these changes are transient and result from the immediately preceding football session,” the researchers write. “We are not able in our study to distinguish between immediate transient effects and longer lasting effects due to study design.”

The authors suggest that more research is needed to determine whether or not significant brain damage is possible by simply directing a ball.

“Although the [cognitive] the changes we report were robust, they do not necessarily imply lasting changes or brain damage,” they write.

Head injuries in sports, especially American football, have been a controversial topic lately. Prior to its 2012 season, the NFL announced it would donate $30 million to the National Institutes of Health for brain injury research, the organization’s largest donation ever.