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Self-Care

Soft Soccer Helmets Reduces Risk Of Concussions

Soccer, like all other sports has its share of cuts and bruises, new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine proves a significant decrease in head injuries while wearing soft protective headgear.

First study to rely solely on results from the field and not the lab, Dr. Scott Delaney, research director of emergency medicine at MUCH studied 268 adolescents, aged 12 to 17 during the 2006 soccer season.

Only 52 of the teenagers wore the helmets, while the others experienced a 2.65 times higher risk of concussions. Injuries were reported by 52.8 percent of those not wearing helmets, with only 26.9 percent injured while wearing the helmets.

Delaney finds these results to be significant when practically 80 percent of sports-related injuries are not reported. He also finds young girls to be the most prone to these injuries.

"Girls, in general, are more prone to concussions in soccer and they may be more aware of the possible benefits of wearing headgear," said Delaney.

Some parents were concerned that the added protection would make children more aggressive while playing, and while the helmets protected their heads, the rest of their bodies were vulnerable. Delaney addressed this issue by recording the cuts and bruises found on the children not covered by the helmets and found no difference.

"This was important to examine as many people fear that the use of soccer headgear may make players more aggressive and more prone to other injuries. At least for these injuries, it may show that wearing headgear does not encourage people to play more aggressively," said Delaney.

In 2002 the Federation Internationale de Football Association authorized soft headgear during official matches, but they were not made mandatory.

"This study may help convince parents and players that soft protective soccer headgear can be an effective part of a comprehensive plan to reduce the number of head injuries and concussions in soccer," said Delaney.

For more information and the complete study, visit http://bjsm.bmj.com.


© 2007 Health Resources Publishing