A recent article in The New York Times asked whether a ban on heading in kids’ soccer games might prevent traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) altogether. While parents across the country would like to see changes to the sport that make it safer for children and teens, a heading ban might not be the answer to the problem. Although some advocates argue that “ridding youth soccer of heading . . . would virtually rid the sport of severe head injuries,” medical experts suggest this likely isn’t the case at all.
Relationship Between Heading and Head Trauma
In response to safety advocates’ arguments that youth soccer should ban heading, Dawn Comstock, an associate professor of public health at the University of Colorado, decided to undertake a study on the relationship between heading and head trauma. They ultimately published their findings in JAMA Pediatrics, but their research began with the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study. This is an online database that Dr. Comstock administers, and it collects reports from across the country.