Look No Hands! The Impact of a Ball to the Head can Cause Severe Brain Damage

Carlo Rinaudo Concussion and mTBI Leave a Comment

The ball comes flying in and the impact is directed exactly to the players head, what a beauty! Think again: That beautiful knock to the head might be more dangerous than you think!

Soccer has been viewed as a sport with low risk of injuries like concussions, however recent research has suggested that mild impact to the head is certainly under-recognized especially when it comes to sports like soccer. The clinical tests that are used to measure the damage related to sub-concussive injuries might be lacking in sensitivity and therefore the resultant effects of a mild blow to the head may be overlooked. Studies have suggested that minor head impact injuries lead to dysfunction, albeit transient, in vestibular processing and therefore it could have an impact on walking stability while a task is being performed. In another study it is proposed that mild repetitive blows to the head disrupts oculomotor processes.

It is clear that the under-appreciation of injuries obtained during non-contact sports should be reviewed and changes need to be put in place to ensure player safety.

Prevention is better than cure!

The world needs to know the risks involved in head injuries like concussion. Some adjustments to popular thought may bring about safer play and therefore less injuries. The following list contains such changes that could be made to ensure overall safety:

  • Emphasis should be put on safe play and respect for another player.
  • People (coaches, players and parents) should know how to recognize a concussion injury.
  • When a player is concussed they should be examined and possibly treated by a trained health care professional.
  • Soccer balls should be age-appropriate, size-appropriate and inflated properly.
  • Heading should be minimized where possible.
  • Proper heading techniques should be learnt in a supervised setting.
  • Goal posts must be anchored and padded properly.
  • The goal keeper, being most at risk, should be protected appropriately.
  • Mouth guards must be worn at all times during the game.
  • Possible use of protective headgear should be considered.

If you suspect you have a concussion…

If you had a blow to the head, it is very important to seek prompt attention. The signs and symptoms of concussion include:

  • Loss of conscious ness
  • Light-headedness
  • Memory problems
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Vertigo
  • Blurred vision
  • Tinnitus
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting

You may even experience some more delayed symptoms long after the injury like:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep irregularities
  • Personality changes
  • Depression

If you have any of these signs and symptoms, it is of the essence that you seek prompt medical attention. We, at Brain Hub, offer comprehensive and tailored therapy to help people overcome the aftermath of post-concussion syndrome in order to restore lives.

References:

  1. Huang S, MaL, Kawata K, Tierney R, Jeka J. Vestibular dysfunction following sub-concussive head impact. J Neurotrauma. February 2016; [E-pub ahead of print] [Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26885560?dopt=Abstract]
  2. Kawata K, Tierney R, Phillips J, Jeka JJ. Effect of repetitive sub-concussive head impacts on ocular near point of convergence. Int J Sports Med. February 2016; [E-pub ahead of print] [Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26859643]
  3. Delaney JS, Frankovich R. Head Injuries and concussions in soccer. Clin J Sport Med July 2005; vol. 15(4): 214-217.

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