Soccer Headers Cause Memory Loss

Headers in Soccer Cause Instant Damage to Memory

Reference: eBiomedicine Oct 2016, BBC News, Washington Post,

You have certainly heard of all the controversy about concussion in the NFL. And you likely have heard that American youth soccer’s governing bodies have banned headers for anyone under 11, both in practice and in play. The question remains, are headers a problem for those older than eleven? That’s what this study decided to look at.

The design was pretty simple. Young adults, ages 19-25, 14 men and 5 women, were told to perform 20 headers over 10 minutes from an automatic soccer “gun” that was designed to send the ball at a precise speed, similar to a corner kick. Then they were checked for memory ability; before, immediately after and for 24 hours following. All had measurable memory loss. Some of the subjects had error rates increase by as much as 64%. It seemed to all clear after 24 hours. A recent review of the issue from March of this year suggests this is a problem. Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, and the header is a critical part of the current game.

So, I thought I would share with your my research on concussions and prevention. As some of you may know, I have applied for and been granted 5 different patents on the use of “air cells” in helmets to reduce concussive injury. I have spent the last two years making a testing device and developing a series of experiments to show the effectiveness of air cells. There are some serious barriers to making it work, which is why I’ve taken two years at this project, to date. But we finally have air cells that are tough enough to not pop when I jump and down on them (210 pounds). My testing device can go up to 150 gs in force, at which point they do pop. So, I can deliver great force. And what I find is that the concussive force occurs in the first blink of an eye, .001 seconds. It’s the same principle with your phone. When you drop it on concrete, the glass shatters from a force wave in the first .0001 seconds. If you put a dumb piece of rubber around your phone, it just bounces.

When you put the air cells in my testing device, we find that we fall below the “threshold” to even get the data recorder to start. The decrease in G forces is on the order of 80 to 90%. I need to have a threshold of G forces to set off the accelerometer, and when it drops below 3 gs, the machine fires off when you start it from the acceleration, instead of waiting for the deceleration. Nice problem, huh?

I think there is air under these wings. This idea has got credibility. We can reduce concussive force in sports. It is going to take the design and manufacture of new new protective equipment to do it.

WWW. What will work for me. I’m just starting the process of looking for business development help. License it? Make it? Prototype it? I think all sports helmets needs to change. Tough resilient air cells will do it. There are other methods. I’m working on a baseball cap right now, with a layer of air cells in it. I whacked my head today in the garage as I was getting put the snow thrower from the crawl space. If I had had my protective, air cell cap on, I wouldn’t have dinged my brain. Now, I just have to remember how to mail out this email.

Pop Quiz:

‪1. Headers in soccer cause brain damage? T or F

That would be a yes.

‪2. Modest head impacts can also cause change in brain function. T or F

That’s what this study shows here.

‪3. The damage appears to occur in the first .001 second when deceleration reaches its peak. T or F

That is the same effect as you dropping your smart phone on the concrete. If you have a rubber cover, it doesn’t shatter. If you don’t, well, you know that story.

‪4. Air cells save lives in what other event where deceleration causes dangerous damage? (Hint: 35 mph will kill you.)

We call them air bags in cars, and they have revolutionized auto safety, if they don’t kill you with shrapnel

‪5. Moderate impacts appear to clear damage within 24 hours? T or F

That is now considered true. What we do know is that repeat concussions within the first week are much more dangerous, so the damage may not be completely cleared in 24. It may take at least a week for the whole healing process to be completed. And we are now discovering and linking repeated head injuries with later-in-life neurological disease. So many little injuries may not be safe.

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