Study links soccer move to potential brain injury
November 13, 2012 (WLS) -- When it comes to brain injuries and sports, soccer is not usually at the top of the list. But some researchers are worried soccer has its own hidden risks. With a move called heading, the ball is hit with the head.
A very small study in the Journal of the American Medical Association focuses on headers and the potential link to brain injury.
German researchers used special brain imaging to compare 12 soccer players and 11 swimmers.
The research found the nerve fibers of soccer players appeared to have signs of traumatic injury when compared to their swimming peers.
But Dr. Kathy Weber, a sports medicine specialist at Rush, says it's too early to say whether hitting the ball with your head is something that has to stop.
"Do we need to have guidelines in the future that may limit it in certain populations or a younger age? Potentially. But based on the scientific knowledge we have at this point I would say that that would be premature," said Dr. Weber.
Dr. Weber says so far studies on helmet use in soccer does not show them to be effective.
While research is ongoing, many experts stress the need for proper heading techniques to be taught at all levels of organized soccer.
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