Saturday, November 14, 2015

Heading The Ball

I saw an interview with Dr. Cantu recently, concerning the heading of balls in soccer.  While I was glad to see Dr. Cantu interviewed, in general, everyone else missed the point of the concern around this part of soccer.

It isn't that heading the ball itself is going to necessarily cause a concussion, but it DOES cause problems in the frontal lobe region, especially for children.  The brain isn't meant to be rocking back and forth in the skull.  The cerebral spinal fluid, which surrounds the brain, helps to protect the brain, but it doesn't make bruising or impacts to the brain itself impossible.  The inner part of the skull is rough and bumping the brain itself against it can cause bruising, bleeding and even short term damage that isn't readily apparent.  Some of that damage may be cumulatively damaging.

Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, neurosurgeon, has also been interviewed on the subject of concussions.  While it is quite possible for someone, specifically a child, to acquire a concussion through a bike accident, it is also possible to acquire a condition, like hydrocephalus, from such an accident.

There have been soccer players who have talked about 'safe' heading of the ball in soccer in the past, who have more recently altered their position, agreeing that there is no 'safe' heading of the ball, especially for kids who's brains are still developing.  There is still so much that is unknown about the brain and its development.

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