By Ken Reed
A new study concludes that heading in soccer can cause brain damage.
The United Kingdom study, published by EBioMedicine, is the first to detect neurological changes caused by sub-concussive impacts such as heading. Changes in motor response and memory were observed in the study participants, ages 19 to 25.
“For the first time, sporting bodies and members of the public can see clear evidence of the risks associated with repetitive impact caused by heading a soccer ball,” said Angus Hunter of the University of Stirling in Scotland in a statement released with the study.
As pointed out by Washington Post reporter Amy Ellis Nutt, this study adds to the growing mound of research on brain trauma and concussions in soccer, including studies that revealed the following:
* Soccer players are prone to traumatic brain injury, with 22 percent of all injuries being concussions.
* Changes in brain anatomy of soccer players – particularly, a thinning of the cortex – is associated with slower cognition.
* Molecular markers of brain damage are significantly elevated in response to heading by male professional soccer players.
Hunter hopes the new findings help spur sports stakeholders to explore every possible way to protect the brains of our athletes.
“We need to safeguard the long-term health of soccer players at all levels, as well as individuals involved in other contract sports,” concluded Hunter.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
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Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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