A new study out of New York City’s Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine suggests that amateur athletes who head balls in sports such as soccer may suffer traumatic brain injuries similar to the damage caused in car accidents. Researchers in the study used MRI scans to investigate brain trauma in 32 amateur adult athletes. The athletes headed balls an average of 436 times annually and those who headed the ball more often showed brain abnormalities. MRI scans showed that many of the athletes suffered from brain trauma, which in many cases was subtle and had few symptoms but could nevertheless affect coordination and thinking skills.
According to lead researcher Dr. Michael Lipton, the trauma comes from the repeated heading of the ball with the head. According to the study, the repeated injury leads to brain cell degeneration. The average age of the study subjects was 31 and those most affected showed signs of brain trauma in the areas of the brain responsible for memory, attention, mobility and visual perception.
The study is significant because millions of children and adults play soccer and other games where the head comes into contact with the balls. In Miami, for example, many children play soccer. Does this new study suggest that some of these athletes may suffer from Miami brain injuries similar in severity to those suffered in Miami traffic accidents? The study also runs counter to the popular belief, held by many coaches and parents, that sports-related Miami personal injuries occur when a child suffers a concussion or other injury. This study suggests that players may be injured simply by playing the game over a period of years.
Many experts, including Dr. Chris Koutures, have stated that more research needs to be done to determine the connection between sports and head injuries. Some experts have suggested additional research so that header limits can be placed on sports activities, especially those activities involving children. The Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center studied only adults, which naturally makes readers of the study wonder whether sports could cause similar injuries to minors and children. Previous research reviews, including one by Dr. Koutures, concluded that there is no documentation to show a connection between long-term head injuries and repeated heading.
According to Dr. Koutures, children should be carefully taught proper heading technique when playing contact games such as soccer and should not be permitted to head a ball until age ten. Dr. Koutures believes that children younger than ten cannot master the correct heading technique that can help prevent brain injuries.
If you or your child have sustained an injury, contact the Flaxman Law Group for legal advice and representation. The Flaxman Law Group can arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation so that you can discuss your case with a personal injury attorney. This way, you can evaluate your case from a position of strength and get the facts you need to make an informed decision in your situation. Get the facts about your rights and options after an injury; contact the Flaxman Law Group today for a free consultation about your case.