Tag Archives: subconcussive
November 2016, Vol. 5, No. 5
Timely reporting on developments and legal strategies at the intersection of sports and concussions—articles that benefit practicing attorneys who may be pursuing a claim or defending a client.
Table of Contents
A New Lawsuit Seeking NFL Neurocognitive Disability Benefits Highlights the Adverse Impact of Subconcussive Hits Regularly Experienced by Linemen
Judge Awards More Than $1 Million in Damages in Concussion Case Involving Softball Player
School District and Parents of Concussed Student Athlete Settle Concussion Lawsuit
Law Reviving Professional MMA in New York Requires Additional Insurance Protection for Traumatic Brain Injuries
Insurance Company Reports Concussion Diagnoses Are Spiking
Federal Judge Won’t Overturn Workers’ Compensation Decision Involving Concussed Player
Former College Lacrosse Player Sues Coach Over Concussion
The Final Plea, By “Friends of the Court”
U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer Dr. George Chiampas Discusses Recognize to Recover Program
By Diane Kukich
Purposeful heading of the ball is an integral part of the game of the soccer but some are questioning whether it is safe for players, especially children and teenagers, to undergo the repeated subconcussive impacts inflicted by ball heading.
At the University of Delaware, Tom Kaminski has been investigating the effects of ball heading in female high school and collegiate players for the past decade, and now he is launching a study that will include youth soccer athletes as well. The work will be supported by the Brain Injury Association of Delaware through a Pediatric Track Concussion Advocacy Grant.
The grants, which are financed with the proceeds of a 5K race called BrainStrong, are used to educate the public about concussion and to create a safer playing environment for young athletes.
“With more data coming in about the effects of subconcussive impacts to the head, we’re especially concerned about youth athletes whose brains are still undergoing physiological as well as cognitive development,” says Kaminski, professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology.
Subconcussive hits don’t cause a concussion, but the cumulative effect of repetitive hits of this type is of increasing concern.
The UD study will consist of both laboratory and field components. The researchers will monitor real-time impact data from sensors attached to thin headbands worn by players while they execute purposeful heading techniques.
In the laboratory, male and female youth, high school and collegiate athletes ages 12 to 24 will be asked to perform soccer headers in a manner similar to practice and game activity. Balls will be projected in a controlled manner from a JUGS Soccer Machine at a speed similar to that for youth soccer games. On-field impact monitoring will occur during sanctioned practices and games.
“It’s especially important to determine what factors influence head acceleration during purposeful soccer heading,” says Jaclyn Caccese, a doctoral student in UD’s Biomechanics and Movement Science program.
“There is growing concern as to what age athletes should be allowed to start heading the soccer ball, but age is probably not nearly as important as head mass, neck strength and technique,” she said. “With this study, we hope to begin to answer some of these questions.”
A Pennsylvania middle school has announced a “no-heading” policy for its middle school soccer teams.
The Washington Post has reported that the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pa. has instituted a policy that prohibits heading soccer balls in practice and discourages heading the ball in games.
“We thought, where is the information that’s telling us this is safe for kids to do?” Shipley Athletic Director Marc Duncan said. “Why wouldn’t we do this?’ There’s no way you can package it that it’s all right to do this.”
“Hockey has raised the age of introducing checking, lacrosse has made all hits to the head illegal, but what’s kind of still out there is heading in soccer and repetitive brain trauma and tackling in football,” Nowinski told the Post. “The easiest way to protect the athletes and reduce problems would be to raise the age that we introduce heading in soccer.”
It is important to note that middle schoolers at Shipley “will learn heading under the policy, but coaches will use light training balls and limit time dedicated to the skill,” according to the article. “The school’s administrators understand players still will head the ball with their club teams and that some in-game knocks will be unavoidable.”
Duncan added: “We’re lessening the blows to them while they’re here. Maybe it’ll teach them to think about it: Instead of heading the ball, I’ll chest it next time. Maybe there’s a different way I can redirect the ball. Why would you inflict hits on a young, developing brain when you can control that?”