Should Kids Be Allowed to Play Soccer?

The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research. Heading a football may look effortless but many scientists have suspected it might actually harm the player’s brain. There could be real consequences—we know that brain injury is linked to an increased risk of dementia, for example. However, it has proven surprisingly difficult to find out the true impact of football heading, partly because mild brain injury is notoriously difficult to detect. Now our new research, published in EBioMedicine, suggests that just a single session of heading practice results in temporary impairment in memory and a disruption of the normal balance of chemicals in the brain. We must now investigate whether these effects remain temporary after repeated football heading exposure and what the long-term consequences on…


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