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Can heading a soccer ball cause brain injuries?

Concussions in different types of contact sports have received extensive attention in Ontario in recent months. Many former athletes are suffering the consequences of traumatic brain injuries that went unnoticed and unaddressed when they were younger and still actively participating in sports. While authorities agree that protection against concussions is essential from the time young children start playing contact sports, some believe soccer players face unrecognized risks.

Neuroscience professors who researched concussions at a university in another province say studies show that soccer players who use their heads to strike soccer balls face risks of concussions. Although soccer is not regarded as a contact sport because it does not involve tackling or hitting pucks with hockey sticks, players are encouraged to hit soccer balls with their heads. It is surprising that no one has yet questioned the fact that those players wear no head protection.

The researchers say that even though the contact between the soccer ball and the player's head is not aggressive, the impact could cause damage. Their studies included the measurement of blood biomarkers of cell injury in 11 participants who headed 40 balls. Those results were then compared to players who hit no headers, and it clearly indicated the adverse impact on the brains of those who used their heads to hit the soccer balls.

Many parents in Ontario are concerned about the level of safety and supervision when their children participate in sports activities at school. Those who suspect that negligence led to brain injuries or concussions in their children can consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Legal counsel can explain the available options to pursue recovery of financial and emotional damages and assist throughout ensuing legal proceedings.

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