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The Relationship Between Soccer and Concussions

Recently, concussions and their long-term effects in the world of athletes has been under increased scrutiny as more studies are being done on the safety of certain sports and what can be done to minimize impactful injuries, especially head injuries. While soccer is the most popular team sport around the world, many people have turned their attention toward the safety of other sports, like football, hockey and basketball when it comes to injury. However, soccer concussions in Brampton are a rising issue.

Aggression and a lack of protection

The eyes may be on football for the propensity of athletes to develop brain injuries and lasting concussions, but in soccer, there is no padding or head protection, leading to more and worse injuries than people may realize. Many games involve physical contact and even outright aggression between opposing teammates, leading to players getting elbowed, tripped, kicked and head butted. In fact, soccer concussions in Brampton are not always caused by a hit to the head. Concussions are caused by an acceleration or deceleration of the brain following any impact, to the head or elsewhere to the body. Even a leg-based tackle can cause a concussion if it causes an acceleration to the brain.

In fact, studies on American football athletes found that concussion impact magnitudes are 70 to 120 times the force of gravity. G-forces of soccer headers (or hitting the ball with your head) are often fairly low accelerations, measuring at about 15 to 25 Gs, so not enough force to cause a concussion in teenage or adult soccer players. Therefore, a lack of head protection may not be the issue, but rather the violence and aggression of body hits and tackles. In fact, less than 10 percent of concussions in high school soccer were caused by contact between the ball and the head. Rather, the most common cause was collision with another player.

The difference for women and kids

In the case of women’s soccer, the sport has the highest rate of concussions among female athletes than any other sport. In fact, there are more concussions in women’s soccer than men’s football! In the case of kids’ sports, kids are even more susceptible to concussion as they have a low body weight and underdeveloped neck muscles. This makes their head and brain more susceptible to acceleration and deceleration. Plus, their head is 90 percent grown by the age of four, meaning their proportions are not the same as adults, leading to a greater risk of head injury as well. Additionally, kids’ brains are still developing and more vulnerable to the lasting effects of a concussion. Intentional headers should be limited or eliminated altogether.

It’s recommended that all players should undergo concussion baseline testing. This includes a pre-injury overview of the healthy brain functions of the athlete before the season begins. This information can be used by healthcare practitioners to make safer decisions regarding allowing players to return to the game, especially after a soccer concussion in Brampton.

Paramount Physiotherapy & Sports Injuries Clinic provides physical therapy interventions with an emphasis on manual therapy. We are committed to working with our patients for positive rehabilitation and quality service. Give us a call today with your concerns.


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