World Cup-- soccer and head injuries

Posted By Shea & Shea || 11-Jun-2010

The 2010 World Cup started on June 11, 2010, with South America and Mexico drawing a tie in the first match of the tournament. Every four years, the United States, with increasing popularity, diverts their attention away from golf, baseball and basketball to enjoy the sporting event that enthralls the rest of the world on a daily (if not hourly) basis.

An irony is that although the sport is globally referred to as "foot" ball, the use of the head in the match is an advantageous and indispensable skill. However, just like the physicality of American football involves some risks, the use of the head in soccer is with consequences as well. A concussion may occur when someone's head strikes an object and soccer balls kicked by highly skilled players can travel over 100 km/hour. However, the most common cause of the concussions was when one player's head strikes the head of another player. Head injuries account for between 4% and 22% of all soccer injuries and usually include other concomitant dental, eye and brain injuries.

A research of professional soccer players shows that the heading of a ball properly does not result in brain damage, which is an assumption that is best revealed in the instruction to "hit the ball, and don't let it hit you first."

However, for youth, it is important to practice caution and safety as children develop their soccer skills. Players should have proper instruction on the way to correctly head the ball. Some leagues implement a "no heading" rules for younger players. This allows time for athletes to develop the appropriate technique and skill to both head the ball and learn how to protect themselves from other incoming players. The ball should be the appropriate size for the age of the players as smaller balls are less likely to cause injury. Finally, the use padded goalposts has been recommended to reduce the injuries caused by mid-game collisions.

Categories: Personal Injury
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