A new study published in EBioMedicine has revealed that heading a football can significantly affect a players brain function and memory up to a day.
Researchers at Scotland’s Stirling University said memory performance was reduced by between 41 percent to 67 percent following heading practice, with the effect wearing off after 24 hours.
The researchers fired footballs from a machine designed to replicate a corner kick power and asked a group of players to head the ball 20 times.
A cognitive neuroscientist at Sterling University told BBC on Monday that researchers found that, ‘There was in fact increased inhibition in the brain immediately after heading and that performance on memory tests was reduced significantly.’ She added that, ‘Although the changes were temporary, we believe they are significant to brain health, particularly if they happen over and over again as they do in football heading.’
Concerns about the effects of repeatedly heading a football has spurred several studies in recent years, particularly on retired former players.
The English Football Association in May 2016 said it would authorize a study into potential links between heading a football and brain diseases.
Recall that an inquest into the death of former England and West Bromwich Albion striker Jeff Astle revealed that he had suffered death by ‘industrial injury’, with his family leading a lengthy campaign into more research on the effects of heading football on player brain health.
In the United States, under 11 players are banned from heading the ball.