Soccer Players at Risk of Dementia Due to Head Trauma

By Greg Kohn

How can soccer players protect themselves against brain injuries?

A recent study suggests that soccer players could be at risk of developing dementia due to repeated blows to the head.  The UK based study, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica, should alert soccer athletes to previously unrecognized risks of the sport.  Our New Jersey brain injury attorneys at Nagel Rice, LLP, discuss the potential link between soccer and brain injuries and some steps you can take as a sports player to protect your head.

Soccer and Dementia

The brains of six deceased professional soccer players were assessed by researchers from University College London and Cardiff University.  All six soccer players had Alzheimer’s disease and four of the athletes showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  CTE is a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head.  Considerable evidence now demonstrates that football can lead to CTE. It appears based on this small study that soccer may pose the same risk.

Researchers caution that more research is needed into the potential link between soccer and dementia.  While initial findings seem to point to a correlation, further studies are necessary to eliminate other potential contributing factors that may have led to dementia among the pro soccer players. For now, sports players and sports organizers are urged to take action to protect the heads of soccer players from trauma.

Protecting Yourself

If you or a loved one plays soccer, whether it be professionally, recreationally, or for a youth sport’s team, there are steps you can take to guard against brain trauma.  If you use your head to hit a soccer ball, be sure to use the proper technique.  Unintentional or poorly landed hits to the ball can be more damaging to the head.  Parents and youth sports coaches should not encourage children to head the soccer ball.

All soccer players should be alert to the signs of a concussion.  If you experience unusual fatigue, concentration issues, nausea or vomiting, irritability, a sensitivity to light or sound, or related symptoms after a hit to the head, seek medical assistance right away as you may have a concussion.  Never return to a game after suffering a blow to the head, as you could greatly increase your chance of a serious traumatic brain injury.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.