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Using Head Could Hurt

Heading in Soccer May Lead to Brain Injury

Soccer players who frequently head the ball may have brain abnormalities similar to patients with traumatic brain injury, suggest researchers who used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to study the effects of heading in soccer. Researchers utilized DTI, an advanced magnetic resonance technique, to study 32 amateur soccer players. Fielding the ball with the head, heading, is a big part of soccer and training drills for the sport. While heading doesn't produce enough impact to lacerate nerve fibers in the brain, researchers caution that repetitive heading could lead to a "cascade of responses" that result in degeneration of brain cells. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

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