Heading the Ball and Concussions in HS Soccer: what’s the connection?


soccer headingImage result for soccer header boys

Today JAMA Pediatrics Online (http://bit.ly/1CBHQuX) just reported a very large retrospective study of national high school soccer players.  The objective of the study was to identify common injury mechanisms and to evaluate in detail heading-related mechanisms of injury.

Almost 3 million athlete exposures (AEs) of boys and girls during school-sanctioned soccer games and practices were evaluated between 2005 and 2014.  A total of 1069 concussions were evaluated. Contact with another player was the most common concussion mechanism.  Heading was the most common soccer-specific activity.  Among heading related concussions, contact with another player was the most common mechanism of injury (78% of boys’ injuries and 62% of girls’).

The paper’s authors state that this information can be helpful to “drive evidence-based, targeted prevention efforts to effectively reduce soccer-related concussions.”  Although many have suggested that the solution to soccer concussions would be to ban heading, this study suggests that “reducing athlete-athlete contact across all phases of play” would help reduce all types of injuries.