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Helmets Protect Soccer Players

A recent report from Washington University in St Louis shows that a standard football helmet can help protect the brains of soccer players when they hit the ball with their heads (1).

A previous study from the Netherlands shows that soccer players have lower scores in tests measuring intelligence than middle-distance runners and swimmers (2). Twenty-seven percent of soccer players have had a concussion that caused them to pass out and 22 percent had between two and five concussions.

Expect brain damage when you hit the ball with your head. 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. 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 like a woodpecker's skull.

1) Do football helmets reduce acceleration of impact in blunt head injuries? Academic Emergency Medicine, 2001, Vol 8, Iss 6, pp 604-609. LM Lewis, R Naunheim, J Standeven, C Lauryssen, C Richter, B Jeffords. Address Lewis LM, Washington Univ, Med Ctr, Div Emergency Med, Washington Univ Phys, Campus Box 8072, 660 S Euclid Ave, St Louis,MO 63110 USA.

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

Checked 8/9/08

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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