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Head Injuries in Soccer Players Helmets Save Lives and IQ points

A very disturbing study from the Netherlands showed that soccer players have lower scores in tests measuring intelligence than middle-distance runners and swimmers. The authors feel that head injuries are the likely cause.

Twenty-seven percent of soccer players have had a documented concussion with passing out and 22 percent had had between two and five concussions. The amount of drop in mental skills was associated with the number of concussions.

When you hit a ball with your head, you can expect brain damage. Soccer players, cyclists, skateboarders and athletes in any other sport with high risk of head injuries should always wear helmets.

Your brain bounces around in its sack of fluid, hitting one side of your skull and then the other, causing bruising and bleeding. Woodpeckers don't suffer concussions when they bang their heads because their brains don't bounce around. Wearing a helmet protects your brain only if it prevents your head from moving inside the helmet when it is hit. Helmets are supposed to fit your head the same way that a woodpecker's skull hold its brain solidly in place. Soccer players should wear helmets that fit snugly, with a liner that fits tightly around the head and a chin strap. If you can move the helmet when you hold your head still, it doesn't fit.

1) Matser EJT, Kessels AG, Lezak MD, Jordan BD, Troost J. Neuropsychological impairment in amateur soccer players. JAMA, 1999 (Sept 8);282(10):971-973.

2) Sheffield-Moore M et al. Thermoregulatory responses to cycling with abd without a helmet. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1997(June);29(6):755-761.

Checked 6/20/10

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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