Soccer Concussions

IMSoccer News (Inside Minnesota Soccer News) has created a wonderful post about concussions in soccer; this educational and informative piece needs to be seen by more than travel the IMScoccer website.  The focus is on the sport of soccer, which is a good place for us to gather information.

The National Institute of Health cites that 4-8% report suffering concussions in soccer, but they also believe that 90% go unreported or unrecognized so the actual incidence could be closer to 40%.

Julie Eibensteiner goes on to explain how one might sustain a concussion in this sport;

1.    Elbow to head and head-to-head contact when two or more players are contesting for ball in the air. MOST COMMON
2.    Goalkeepers getting kicked or getting a knee to the head or hitting head on goalpost.
3.    Body-to-body contact without direct contact to the head in which the head accelerates or decelerates violently.
4.    Getting hit in head unexpectedly with the ball and hitting head on ground after a fall.
5.    Deliberately heading the ball LEAST COMMON

NOTE: Typical boxing punch produces head acceleration of 100g v 20g for typical header. American soccer players head a ball 5-6 times per game and roughly 9 times at practice. In addition, FIFA’s Medical and Research Center concluded that “forces generally associated with heading the ball are not sufficient to cause concussions.”

Eibensteiner further explains how to handle coaching heading to the youth;

1.    Learn proper heading technique – contact with the ball at the hairline/forehead NOT the top of the head.
2.    Learn to properly prepare for contact with the ball and a mentality of initiating contact with the ball instead “letting the ball hit you.” This will prepare the neck and postural muscles to help absorb impact and force to the body and head …and make you a more effective player.
3.    Use under-inflated soccer balls or even balloons with younger kids (U12 and younger or inexperienced older players) until they get comfortable with heading and learning proper technique.
4.    Strengthen neck muscles
5.    Limit the amount of repetitive heading at practice to 10 minutes or less

A well-put-together post by IMSoccer News and Julie Eibensteiner, worthy of you time, especially if you are involved in the sport of soccer.

4 thoughts on “Soccer Concussions

  1. Lauren March 1, 2011 / 12:57

    More proof that players should wear headgear.

  2. Lauren March 1, 2011 / 13:01

    The author notes one study in the Bristish Journal of Sports Medicine that headgear reduces the impact in a collision by 50%. Ironically, this study was funded by FIFA. The author then states that there is no field studies on headgear. Well, there is. The study I am refering to is also in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It is called “The effect of protective headgear on head injuries and concussions in adolescent football (soccer) players”. This field study proves that headgear reduces the concussion rate by at least 50%.

    It is strange how the media, doctors, trainers, coaches, etc. are completely ignoring this other study…any thoughts?

    • Dustin Fink March 1, 2011 / 14:47


      Possibly due to lack of information, yes it is out there, but getting in front of eyes is the hard part. Hence the blog. That study to which you refer is a very good one and may serve to affect change.

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