Young soccer players face head injury risks

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2022 | Brain Injury |

Young soccer players may face serious risks of head injuries and brain impacts while playing at school or on recreational teams. While the impact of head injuries in football has received more attention, Seattle youth soccer players also suffer from severe impacts while playing the sport, especially during “headers,” when the player’s head is used to move the ball.

When do soccer players have head impacts?

However, even though soccer players use headers in both practices and games, studies show that even though the number of head impacts in practices is greater, the head impacts that take place during games are more damaging. Considering the effects of repeated head trauma, experts are also advising schools and youth coaches to investigate how they can reduce the number of head impacts during practices in order to improve the overall safety of the sport.

Negative consequences of head injuries

Head impacts in sport are associated with a number of negative outcomes. This may be particularly true for children, who have smaller heads and still-developing brains. Players can experience a sudden and severe injury that sends them to the hospital, or the effects of multiple head injuries over time can add up to various forms of brain injuries and trauma. The greater the number of concussions a person has during their life, the greater risk they face for serious consequences that require ongoing medical treatment.

Experts found that while kids were likely to have an average of 1.3 head impacts during a soccer game, the number of impacts during practice might range from less than one to nearly 14 per hour. Of course, this number rises significantly during technical drills like heading the ball, dribbling and ball control. They note that changing the way that practices are handled can help to reduce the risk to kids by preventing brain injuries that cause physical pain memory issues, personality changes and other damage.