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Heading a soccer ball may affect cognitive performance

Date:
February 27, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Sports-related head injuries are a growing concern, and new research suggests that even less forceful actions like 'heading' a soccer ball may cause changes in performance on certain cognitive tasks, according to new research.

Sports-related head injuries are a growing concern, and new research suggests that even less forceful actions like 'heading' a soccer ball may cause changes in performance on certain cognitive tasks.
Credit: Sylvie Bouchard / Fotolia

Sports-related head injuries are a growing concern, and new research suggests that even less forceful actions like 'heading' a soccer ball may cause changes in performance on certain cognitive tasks, according to a paper published February 27 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Anne Sereno and colleagues from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

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The researchers tested the effects of non-injurious head-to-ball impacts on cognitive function using a tablet-based app. They found that high school female soccer players were significantly slower than non-players on a task that required pointing away from a target on the screen, but showed no difference in performance when pointing to the on-screen visual target.

According to the study, tasks that involve pointing away from a target require specific voluntary responses, whereas moving toward a target is a more reflexive response. Based on their observations, the authors conclude that sub-concussive blows to the head may cause changes specifically linked to certain cognitive functions.

The authors say that the app used in their research may be a quick and effective way to screen for and track cognitive changes in athletes. They add that a tablet-based application for such quick screens may also have broader applications in the clinic or the field.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marsha R. Zhang, Stuart D. Red, Angela H. Lin, Saumil S. Patel, Anne B. Sereno. Evidence of Cognitive Dysfunction after Soccer Playing with Ball Heading Using a Novel Tablet-Based Approach. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (2): e57364 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057364

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Heading a soccer ball may affect cognitive performance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130227183458.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, February 27). Heading a soccer ball may affect cognitive performance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130227183458.htm
Public Library of Science. "Heading a soccer ball may affect cognitive performance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130227183458.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

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