‘Heading the ball’ riskier for female players: study

SPOTLIGHT

Brain damage from heading a football may be five times more extensive in women than men, said a U.S. study Tuesday based on nearly 100 amateur players.

The report in the journal
Radiology
suggested that sex-specific guidelines may be needed to guard against head injuries in football, or soccer as it is widely called in the United States.

“Researchers and clinicians have long noticed that women fare worse following head injury than men, but some have said that’s only because women are more willing to report symptoms,” said lead author Michael Lipton, professor of radiology, psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Based on our study, which measured objective changes in brain tissue rather than self-reported symptoms, women do seem more likely than men to suffer brain trauma from heading soccer balls.”

The study gave no formal reasons for the differences, but some experts suggest that neck strength or genetics could be to blame.AFP

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