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'Heading' a soccer ball could cause brain injury

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Staff member
CTVNews.ca Staff

The issue of head injuries has been a topic of debate in sports such as hockey, football and boxing. Now, researchers are raising concerns about the brain health of players in another sport: soccer.

Researchers in the U.S. recently completed brains scans on soccer players who regularly "head" the ball and say they found subtle signs of brain damage in many of them -- raising concerns about whether the practice is safe, especially in chldren.

Using a form of brain imaging called diffusion tensor imaging, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York studied 38 amateur soccer players with an average age of 31, all of whom had played soccer since childhood.

They found that those players who said they head the ball frequently had changes in their brains that were similar to those seen in traumatic brain injury patients.

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