SAN DIEGO, CA -- From small scrapes to hospital emergencies, playing soccer can be painful, and even dangerous. To avoid head injuries and concussions the only effective solution is wearing soft protective headgear, as shown by Dr. Scott Delaney, Research Director of Emergency Medicine at the MUHC, in a new study published in the July issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
In the first attempt to rely on results from the field instead of the lab, this innovative study was carried out just after the 2006 soccer season and included 268 adolescents aged 12 to 17 years from the Oakville Soccer Club. Although only 52 of them wore headgear during this period, the results are significant: the risk of concussion was 2.65 times higher for players who were not protected. In fact, 52.8% of the adolescents who did not wear headgear reported being injured compared to only 26.9% of those who did. These results are indeed noteworthy, particularly since approximately 80% of sports-related injuries are not recognized or reported. Prevention is therefore an essential means of protection.
Interestingly, though headgear protects the areas of the head that are covered, there were no differences in the number of cuts and bruises on the areas of the head and face not covered by it. “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 a headgear does not encourage people to play more aggressively,” stated Dr. Delaney.
Unfortunately, adolescents who regularly wear headgear are not the rule and do not represent the majority of young athletes: most of them are young girls or adolescents who have already been injured. “Girls, in general, are more prone to concussions in soccer and they may be more aware of the possible benefits of wearing headgear,” remarked Dr. Delaney, who also practices at the McGill Sports Medicine Clinic. Since 2002, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has authorized soft headgears during official matches but has not made them 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.,” confirmed Dr. Delaney.
The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. The MUHC is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University––the Montreal Children’s, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, and Montreal Neurological Hospitals, as well as the Montreal Chest Institute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of the founding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge. www.muhc.ca
About Full90 Sports, Inc.
Full90 Sports, Inc. develops state-of-the-art protective soccer equipment specifically designed to allow athletes of all ages to perform at their full capacity. Full90 Sports pioneered a new product category with their flagship product, the F90 Performance Headguard™. The headguards provide players a heightened level of protection by significantly reducing the impact force associated with hard surface contact, without affecting style of play or "ball feel". Full90 headguards are designed using Performance Protection Technology™, a development process which combines applied physics, engineering and design with a deep appreciation for the heart and soul of an athlete, as well as an absolute respect for the game they play. More information is available at www.full90.com.
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