Soccer headers can prove dangerousA medical survey shows...

Off the beat

November 26, 1990

Soccer headers can prove dangerous

A medical survey shows that 30 percent of retired Norwegian soccer players had signs of minor brain damage because they used their heads to hit the ball.

Soccer players risk brain damage by using their heads to strike at balls, some of which travel at more than 60 mph, medical student Alf Thorvald Tysvaer said in his doctoral thesis, presented at Oslo University.

Tysvaer said 3 percent of the active Norwegian soccer players he studied also showed symptoms of brain damage.

In the study, former players complained of headache, dizziness and irritability and some had problems with pain in the neck, Tysvaer said. He said those were symptoms of chronic, or permanent, brain damage.

But the brain changes he recorded were not as severe as those suffered by boxers, Tysvaer said.

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