Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. In the United States, soccer is one of the most popular sports for children. Both boys and girls begin playing soccer at a very young age. They are exposed to soccer in physical education classes and the sport is usually offered as an after school activity. For those who are even more serious about soccer, they join club or traveling teams like the Athletic Amateur Union ‘s (AAU).
While soccer is not perceived to be a contact sport like football, recent studies show that “heading” a soccer ball could be linked to personal injury. Heading is a technique used in soccer by players who hit the ball with their head to score or pass.
Researchers at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago have found that the technique, although effective, can create brain injuries in amateur players. Players who “headed” the ball around two or more times a day, were more likely to experience brain injuries in areas that control attention, memory, planning, organizing and vision.
Soccer balls can move at a high speed. As a result, when the ball reaches the player’s head, it can have a significant impact on the player’s brain. Concerns for athletes’ brains have increased in this country. “Heading in soccer” is something else for the authorities to consider when trying to make sports safer. Headgear is one proposed idea that is being tossed around.
Until a solution is discovered, soccer players should do what they can to protect their own brains. If a player suffers from a concussion, the player should stop playing soccer until they are examined and cleared to play again.
Litigation has not historically been a great option for players. High school athletes that have been injured have sued schools, coaches and staff for negligent failure to supervise and other reasons, have not had great success. It is best to try to prevent the injuries from occurring by monitoring the child’s on-field play and injuries.
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