Frequent Ball Heading May Lead to Brain Injury

January 6, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. traumatic (adj.) [truh-mat-ik] – in medicine, it is related to or caused by a severe injury to your body 

Example: He suffered a traumatic head injury from the car accident.
2. concussion (n.) [kuhn-kuhsh-uhn] – an injury to the brain that is caused by something hitting the head very hard
Example:  The doctor said that my uncle had a concussion due to a vehicular accident last month.

3. dizziness (n.) [diz-ee] –  a feeling of turning around in circles and falling even though you are standing still
Example: The lady beside me on the plane experienced dizziness after we landed at the airport.

4. deterioration (n.) [dih-teer-ee-uh-rey-shuhn] – a  decrease in quality or strength
Example:  Deterioration of bones lead to the inability to lift heavy objects.

5. associated (adj.) [uh-soh-shee-ey-ted] – connected with another person or event
Example: Our teacher Ms. Smith is oftentimes associated with our school principal because of their physical similarities.

Read the text below.
A new study suggests that soccer players may experience traumatic brain injury due to frequent ball heading.

Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine made a test on 34 adults who have played soccer since childhood.  They were asked the number of times they headed the ball in the previous year and whether they had concussions before.

Using a sophisticated brain scan technique, it was found out that players who headed the ball more often performed worse at remembering lists of words read to them than other players who headed the ball a fewer times. This condition is similar to those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, researchers added.  

In a previous research by Elizabeth Larson, a university researcher in California, she found that the players who headed the ball most often during a season performed poorly on tests of visual memory which involves recalling of shapes and images. These players also have suffered from recurrent headaches and dizziness more than others.

Lead researcher and senior author Dr. Michael Lipton said that repetitive heading may lead to deterioration of brain cells in the part of the brain associated to verbal and visual memory. Furthermore, children may experience more problems than adults since their brains are developing faster. Researchers must consider these findings to help protect soccer players.

Far from asking a ban on ball heading, Ms. Larson advised parents to consistently monitor the number of heading repetitions their children do during practice. They must also check any associated symptoms like headaches especially after soccer practice. 

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What other measures can coaches or players themselves do to lessen the risk of getting a brain injury due to heading?
·         In your opinion, should a player continue to engage in a particular sport despite the risks and dangers? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Should parents prohibit their children from playing soccer? Why or why not?
·         What sports are common among children in your country?

January 6, 2012