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Soccer May Also Result in Traumatic Brain Injury

The more you look, the more the world of sports is becoming a dangerous place to play. Head trauma is a serious issue.

Just when you thought you had heard all there was about traumatic brain injury in football and hockey, you then find out this type of injury is prevalent in soccer. Players perform a move referred to as heading, which refers to using their head (sans protection), to redirect or stop a soccer ball. Soccer balls travel at very high speeds, and the force of impact on the skull tosses the brain around. The result? Concussion, also called traumatic brain injury.

While the cognitive impairment may be mild in the case of athletes heading the ball, if a string of these incidents were sustained over a period of time, the cumulative effect could be detrimental. Given the number of soccer players worldwide, this is an issue that bears investigation. Like football, the long-term effects of continually heading may not be known until later in a player’s career or if they donate their brains to science for study. For instance, renowned British footballer Jeffrey Astle, noted for his slamming headers, died of degenerative brain disease in 2002. His damaged brain showed the trademark signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

In a smart move to be proactive, rather than reactive, researchers have published an article about heading in the January 2012 issue of Neurosurgery, indicating caution is the better part of valor. Since many young children play this sport, it would make sense to urge them to refrain from heading the ball until they develop the correct neck strength and proper body control to head a ball properly. Despite knowing the right technique, this is not to say accidents will not happen, because they do.

In anticipation of the debate growing even more strident, many soccer clubs are considering headgear of some sort to absorb the shock of the ball aS it connects with the skull. Soccer balls today are not made of leather, which may lighten their impact as leather is noted to absorb water that creates a deadlier head hit.

Even though those who play sports are playing with the knowledge that they may be injured, there is a line that should not be crossed. That line is the teams fully informing all players of the potential risks of playing the game, including the chance they may suffer cognitive impairment and death from cumulative head hits. You may recall that 21 former National Football League players filed a class action lawsuit against the league for not telling them that they knew about the risks of repeated traumatic brain injuries.

Generally speaking, if negligence is involved in a sport, such as not informing players of all the risks, there may be a good case for filing a lawsuit with the assistance of an Austin personal injury lawyer. Not all cases are the same, and each one has its own set of facts that will determine how a lawsuit may proceed. It is the Austin personal injury lawyer’s job to advise you if you have a case, if it stands a chance of winning and how you may expect your case to develop as it heads toward a settlement or a jury verdict.

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at or (512) 476-4944.

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