Soccer Blows Whistle on Concussion Issue

Recently the NFL settled a 765 million dollar lawsuit with its players over brain injuries suffered on the field. Those injuries directly related to concussions and the repetitive impact sustained by players. Although this has been the most publicized lawsuit tied to concussions in sports, many people overlook their increasing occurrence in other arenas. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and although football may carry the most substantial head injury risk, soccer is no stranger to concussions.

The risk for head injury in soccer can start at a young age. With more and more children getting involved in the sport, the risk for sustaining injury is mounting. “Aconcussion in soccer is common because children are running around at a very fast pace. When kids are moving quickly and focused intently on the ball, they are less likely to notice their surroundings and may run into another player or trip over their feet. The fast-paced nature of soccer is one of the key reasons why it is a sport that can lead to a number of injuries.” source

Because kids often have less body control and awareness, they can put themselves at a greater risk for sustaining various injuries. There are several ways a child could sustain a concussion, most of these involve kicking or coming into contact with the ball. “A soccer ball flying at a child or young adult’s head can be very dangerous and lead to a concussion. This is especially a problem with middle school age kids and teenagers, as they kick the ball much harder than younger kids. The faster the ball flies at the head or face of a youth, the more dangerous it can be.” source

When it comes to the different genders and their risk for concussions, researchers believe girls are more predisposed than guys for developing such an ailment. This is because girls in general have weaker neck muscles and less support for sudden head movements or contact. There is also an indication that they take longer to recover from any head injury.

Besides coming in contact with the ball or another player there is another possible way to sustain a concussion. “While not as common, abruptly starting or stopping in soccer can also be a cause of a head injury. A concussion in soccer can be caused by a child or young adult running very fast and then stopping all of the sudden. This can cause the brain to slam into the skull, leading to a mild to severe concussion in your child.” source

Chairman and sports medicine specialist, Dr. Bob Cantu of Emerson Hospital in Mass, believes the risks for concussions and head injury, especially in women’s soccer is a growing problem. “What’s happening in this country is an epidemic of concussions, number one, and the realization that many of these individuals are going to go on to post-concussion syndrome, which can alter their ability to function at a high level for the rest of their lives.” source

Recently an All-American soccer goalie from Stanford was forced to cut her soccer career short after sustaining a number of concussions. Emily Oliver suffered her most recent concussion at the end of August. Since the star goalie has had several concussions over the course of her career, her risk for developing future head trauma and permanent brain injury on the field is high.

Concussions in the sport of soccer have been seen at every level of competition. In the pro’s they can have an even more devastating affect on a player. Former MLS star Taylor Twellman was also forced out of the sport after experiencing multiple concussions. However, he believes he could still be playing if it weren’t for the negligence of his former club. “Taylor Twellman said that the Major League Soccer team ignored his symptoms of multiple concussions, even sending him back on the field after he said “I have a concussion” following the hit that eventually forced him to retire.” source. Twellman was a five-time MLS All-Star and league MVP in 2005. He made 30 appearances for the U.S. national team.

It is important to realize that when compared to other contact sports, head injuries are common in soccer. In a study of high school soccer players, neuropsychologist Dr. Jill Brooks discovered that more than a quarter of athletes had suffered one or more concussions. source In another study it was found that more than 40% of soccer players had experienced at least one concussion before entering college.

Head related injuries and negligence on behalf of another party should not be overlooked. Concussions although common in soccer in other sports can happen almost anywhere at any time. On the road, accidents can cause significant personal injury or head trauma. If you or a loved one have been injured it is important to seek medical and legal helps. Attorneys at Ginsburg and Associates have experience dealing with all types of personal injury cases. We are committed to fighting for you both inside and outside the courtroom. Many times we are able to reach fair settlements without the need to take the case before a judge. No matter the injury or how it happened, we are here to represent and help you.