BOX 1A. STUDIES THAT SUGGEST HEADING CAUSES BRAIN INJURY

Study Subjects

Results

Investigators

33 Dutch amateur soccer players compared to 27 elite athletes in noncontact sports (swimming and track)*

Compared to the control groups of athletes, soccer players showed deficits in cognitive functions. Those deficits were correlated with the number of concussions.

Eric Matser, Muriel Lezak and others, 1999. JAMA

53 Dutch professional soccer players compared to 27 elite athletes in noncontact sports (swimming and track)

Compared to the control groups of athletes, soccer players showed deficits in certain cognitive functions.

Eric Matser, Muriel Lezak and others. 1998. Neurology

84 premier league professional soccer players

The number of concussions that players remembered having in their lifetime was associated with cognitive deficits. Players who headed the ball more often also showed cognitive deficits, although the specific deficits were different for the frequently concussed players than deficits seen in the frequent headers.

Eric Matser, Muriel Lezak and others. 2001. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology

*Although they are officially amateur players, they are nonetheless elite athletes who play in highly competitive leagues. The average age of the athletes in this study was 25 years, and they had played soccer an average of 17 years, practiced 4 hours per week, and played 36 games per year.

BOX 1B. STUDIES THAT SUGGEST HEADING DOES NOT CAUSE BRAIN INJURY

Study Subjects

Results

Investigators

91 U.S. varsity collegiate soccer players vs. 96 varsity collegiate athletes in noncontact sports and 53 student controls.

No significant differences between the groups for SAT score or neuropsychological tests.

Kevin Guskiewicz, Stephen Marshal, and others. 2002. American Journal of Sports Medicine

100 U.S. varsity collegiate soccer players tested just before and after repeatedly heading a soccer ball.

No decrease in neuropsychological test scores were seen after 20-minute heading practice sessions.

Margot Putukian, Ruben Echemendia, and others, 2001. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine

20 members of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team training camp compared to 20 elite male track athletes of the same age.

Head injury symptoms were associated with head injuries received while playing soccer, but not to the numbers of years playing soccer or how many times a player headed the ball.

Sheldon Jordan. 1996. American Journal of Sports Medicine

133 U.S. varsity collegiate soccer players and 111 athletes in noncontact sports (Both groups included men and women.)

No significant difference in mental performance.

Ruben Echemendia, Margot Putukian, and Jared Bruce (unpublished data)

58 U.S. varsity collegiate soccer players with different exposures to heading soccer balls.

No difference was seen in neuropsychological test results for players who frequently headed soccer balls compared to those who rarely did.

Ruben Echemendia Margot Putukian, and Jared Bruce (presented at American Medical Society of Sports Medicine and American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, April 2001)



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