American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
For Immediate Release Apr 15, 2015


Is Heading in Soccer Bad for My Kid?

Hollywood, FloridaApril 15, 2015– John O’Kane, MD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Orthopedics at the University of Washington , presented “Is Heading in Soccer bad for my Kid” today at the 24nd Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine in Hollywood, Florida.

The 2015 conference, with more than 1,500 sports medicine physicians attending from throughout the United States and around the world, explores current decisions, controversies and best practices related to return-to-play decision making that defines the clinical practice of sports medicine.

Dr. O’Kane, who serves as the University of Washington Intercollegiate Athletics Medical Coordinator, reviewed current literature on the safety of heading in soccer among children, adolescents and teenagers, as well as his own study published in Pediatrics in March of 2014.

Compared to other youth sports and recreational activities, the risk of catastrophic head and neck injury is low.  The risk of concussion is higher and even higher for girls than boys.  This is in contrast to adult soccer players that rarely suffer a concussion as a result of heading the ball.

Dr. O’Kane reports, “In girls youth soccer…the vast majority of concussions occurred in games and the girls were trying to head the ball in 31% of the concussions.  They also reported that contact with the ball was responsible for the injury in 30%.  In summary youth players and women seem to be at greater risk from concussion from heading.  They may have biomechanically less neck and body strength to provide stability of the head and for kids having relatively larger heads for body size may all contribute.”

About the AMSSM Annual Meeting: The conference features lectures and research addressing the most challenging topics in sports medicine today including issues surrounding FIFA & soccer injuries, ACL injury prevention, cardiovascular disease, degenerative joint disease, the power of physical activity in maintaining a healthy population, baseball injuries, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, sports ultrasound, pediatric sports medicine, groin pain/athletic pubalgia and provocative issues dealing with return-to-play decision making.

About the AMSSM: AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of 2,700+ sports medicine physicians dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes of all ages. The majority of AMSSM members are primary care physicians with fellowship training and added qualification in sports medicine who then combine their practice of sports medicine with their primary specialty. AMSSM includes members who specialize solely in non-surgical sports medicine and serve as team physicians at the youth level, NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL, as well as with Olympic teams. By nature of their training and experience, sports medicine physicians are ideally suited to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes, sports teams or active individuals who are simply looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 4000 W. 114th St., Suite 100, Leawood, KS 66211, (913) 327-1415.

© The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
4000 W. 114th Street, Suite 100
Leawood, KS 66211
Phone: 913.327.1415

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