Nav: Home

Soccer headers may be linked to balance problems

July 11, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS - Soccer players who head the ball more often may be more likely to have balance problems than players who do not head the ball as often, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's Sports Concussion Conference in Indianapolis July 20 to 22, 2018.

"Soccer headers are repetitive subconcussive head impacts that may be associated with problems with thinking and memory skills and structural changes in the white matter of the brain," said study author John Jeka, PhD, of the University of Delaware in Newark, Del. "But the effect of headers on balance control has not been studied."

For the study, 20 soccer players recruited from the community in Newark took a balance test where they walked along a foam walkway with their eyes closed under two conditions: with galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) and without GVS. For GVS, electrodes placed behind each ear stimulate the nerves that send messages from the balance system in the inner ear to the brain. So the stimulator can make you feel like you are moving when you are not. In this case, it made participants feel like they were falling sideways.

The soccer players, who had an average age of 22, also completed questionnaires about how many times they had headed the ball during the past year. The number of headers over a year for each participant ranged from 16 to 2,100, with an average of 451 headers. Those numbers were calculated by asking participants for the average number of headers during a practice and game, the average number of practices and games per week, and the average number of months per year that the player participated.

The study found that the players with the largest number of headers had the largest balance responses to GVS in both foot placement and hip adduction during the walking test, which indicated that they had vestibular processing and balance recovery problems. Researchers found for every 500 headers, foot placement response increased about 9 millimeters and hip adduction response increased about 0.2 degrees.

"Soccer players must have good balance to play the game well, yet our research suggests that headers may be undermining balance, which is key to all movement, and yet another problem now linked to headers," said study author Fernando V. Santos, PT, of the University of Delaware. "It is important that additional research be done to look more closely at this possible link with balance and to confirm our findings in larger groups of people."

A limitation of the study was that participants relied on memory when reporting how many times they headed the ball.
-end-
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more about concussion at http://www.BrainandLife.org, the American Academy of Neurology's free patient and caregiver magazine and website focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health. Follow Brain & LifeTM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To learn more about the AAN's Sports Concussion Guideline and access resources, visit https://www.aan.com/concussion.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 34,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Media Contacts:
Renee Tessman, rtessman@aan.com, (612) 928-6137
Carissa Jackson, cajackson@aan.com, (612) 928-6169

American Academy of Neurology

Related Balance Articles:

Molecule may help maintain brain's synaptic balance
Many neurological diseases are malfunctions of synapses, or the points of contact between neurons that allow senses and other information to pass from finger to brain.
Balance and movement improved in animal model of Parkinson's disease
Researchers at UCLA have developed a molecular compound that improves balance and coordination in mice with early stage Parkinson's disease.
Balance, gait negatively impacted after chemotherapy treatment
A single chemotherapy treatment can result in a significant negative impact on walking gait and balance, putting patients at an increasing risk for falls, according to a new study involving breast cancer patients conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.
Genetic cross-talk key to cell balance
In a study published in the June 5, 2017, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stowers scientists Bony De Kumar, Ph.D., and Robb Krumlauf, Ph.D., provide evidence of direct cross-regulatory feedback, or cross-talk, between Nanog and Hox genes.
Resetting balance in reward centers may help treat alcohol addiction
The human brain functions on a delicate balance of reinforcing positive behaviors and suppressing negative ones, which takes place in the dorsal striatum, a brain region critical for goal-directed behavior and implicated in drug and alcohol addiction.
How shifts in excitation-inhibition balance may lead to psychiatric disorders
In a special issue of Biological Psychiatry titled 'Cortical Excitation-Inhibition Balance and Dysfunction in Psychiatric Disorders', guest editors Dr.
Balance test improves insight into illness in schizophrenia
A common symptom of schizophrenia -- not knowing that you're ill -- can be temporarily alleviated using a balance test that stimulates part of the brain with cold water, an exploratory study at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has shown.
Balance may rely on the timing of movement
Zebrafish learn to balance by darting forward when they feel wobbly, a principle that may also apply to humans.
Keeping our balance -- a tale of two systems
The transition from being sea creatures to living on land, even if it happened over 300 million years ago, seems to have left its traces on the way we keep our balance today.
Sensory cells of the balance organ can regenerate after injury
Research at Umeå University in Sweden shows that in the utricle -- which is one of the internal ear's balance organs in mammals -- epithelial cells can be regenerated, resulting in healthy sensory hair cells and surrounding supporting cells.

Related Balance Reading:

Balance: The Gameplan to Finding Time for Your Young Living Business with Oola
by Sarah Harnisch (Author), Dave Braun (Contributor), Troy Amdahl (Contributor)

Balance: A Dizzying Journey Through the Science of Our Most Delicate Sense
by Carol Svec (Author)

Balance (Off Balance) (Volume 1)
by Lucia Franco (Author)

Balance Like a Pirate: Going beyond Work-Life Balance to Ignite Passion and Thrive as an Educator (A Lead Like a PIRATE Guide)
by Jessica Cabeen (Author), Jessica Johnson (Author), Sarah Johnson (Author)

Balance: In Search of the Lost Sense
by Scott McCredie (Author)

A Fine Balance
by Rohinton Mistry (Author)

Being in Balance: 9 Principles for Creating Habits to Match Your Desires
by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer (Author)

Cooking for Hormone Balance: A Proven, Practical Program with Over 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Boost Energy and Mood, Lower Inflammation, Gain Strength, and Restore a Healthy Weight
by Magdalena Wszelaki (Author)

Balance (Matefinder) (Volume 3)
by Leia Stone (Author)

Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life: Achieving Optimal Health and Wellness through Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Western Science
by Claudia Welch (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Why We Hate
From bullying to hate crimes, cruelty is all around us. So what makes us hate? And is it learned or innate? This hour, TED speakers explore the causes and consequences of hate — and how we can fight it. Guests include reformed white nationalist Christian Picciolini, CNN commentator Sally Kohn, podcast host Dylan Marron, and writer Anand Giridharadas.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#482 Body Builders
This week we explore how science and technology can help us walk when we've lost our legs, see when we've gone blind, explore unfriendly environments, and maybe even make our bodies better, stronger, and faster than ever before. We speak to Adam Piore, author of the book "The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human", about the increasingly amazing ways bioengineering is being used to reverse engineer, rebuild, and augment human beings. And we speak with Ken Thomas, spacesuit engineer and author of the book "The Journey to Moonwalking: The People That Enabled Footprints on the Moon" about...