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 #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
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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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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