Sports Med Issues

Keeper

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This has been a thread I've thought about starting for a while. In particular, I'd like to draw attention and discussion to the idea (argument) over whether or not heading the ball repeatedly as a child, teen, and adult can cause long-term cognitive difficulties.

First off, my opinion is that, in general, it does not. That said, and all joking aside, I do believe that there are some "softer" heads that may be predisposed to slight concussions over long term play. For example, I'm sure we all seen many long and high punts with a hard and heavy ball that look like a bitch for some poor bastard on the back line who has to take it on the ol' melon. For the most part, I'm certain that this fine, but for some kids . . . perhaps not.

During recent years I've heard of many studies from across North America and Europe that have come on one side of the issue or the other. Some scientists suggest no problems; some suggest using headgear as protection. As result, it seems the issue is without a definitive answer. I'm curious to hear other TTP'ers opinions -- particularly those with (young) children.

In the mean time I suggest looking at the following sites. The first has a survey of recent articles on the issue of soccer head injuries, while the second is a commercial site that sells a "shin guard for your head".

--> http://users.erols.com/wsyacy/headinjury.html
--> http://www.headblast.com/

Note: I've started this thread a place for serious discussion on sports med topics. Please refrain from inane banter and insults. Feel free to disagree with others, but do not ridicule the opinion or the person within this thread. If you've got nothing constructive to contribute, then post elsewhere. Garbage posts will be deleted without warning so use good judgement -- right, Reg's?
 

Ballbaby

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Keeper,

I appreciate this topic you bring up. There was a study done on the men's Norwegian national team, and they found that at at least 30% of them have lost some cognitive abilities due to repeated heading of the ball. That is quite significant in my opinion.

I know that I have suffered several concussions over the years and the early ones were not ascertained as concussions but just "headaches". Only after the awareness that is out there right now could I look back and realize that I did suffer from concussion syndrome. I'm sure many of us can do this after reflection.

I don't believe that headgear is going to make much of a difference. Another problem that I am suffering as a result of years of heading is the narrowing of my cervical vertebrae. C6-C7 to be exact. The dynamics of compression, and twisting, when heading the ball can easily lead to cervical deterioration. Headgear wouldn't solve that problem. As far as heads banging together, yes, headgear may help. However, think about the multiple times you head a ball compared to head to head injuries. No comparison. Everytime your head hits the ball, your brain vibrates against your skull. I remember seeing stars on many occasions, especially when the ball became water logged. Ouch.

What's the solution? Eliminate heading? Headgear? I have no idea. I do agree that we don't have to introduce heading to our kids until later, and that proper technique must be stressed. Every sport carries a detriment. The question is, do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? At this point, for myself, I would say yes. If I come down with Alzheimers, I may change my mind (if I am able).
 

knvb

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Great thread idea

I dont feel this a problem for young kids they don't get those long bomb goal kicks or punts. Most can't even kick past the 18 and if they do it's not going to be in the air.

I am in the midst of coaching soccer clinics through Surrey United right now(blind leading the blind I know:D ) and when I watch the younger guys and girls there is no heading it's all duck and cover. So if there are kids with "soft heeds" there is such a small chance of constant blow to the head.

Now as for the men I could see it having a long term effect! Many a day have I come off the park feeling a little "punchy" but as most say I am a "soft head"

knvbhopeshedoen'tgetdeleted;)
 

Keeper

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Ballbaby,

I agree with much of what you say, but I wonder about studies such as the Norwegian one you bring up. While I recall hearing about the same study, and while I can have no real doubts as to their methods, I wonder how they managed to measure a loss of 30% coginitive abilities. I mean, I seriously doubt that the researchers established a baseline from their subjects prior to decades full of heading.

Second, you're right in bringing up the idea of advantages v. disadvantages. We're not going to live forever, we're not going to play forever [shudder] and we have to assess what, if any, effects this "damage" may have. Example: I grew up with a friend of mine playing soccer and now he's a doctor. How much brain damage could he have encountered? Moreover, look at the rest of us on TTP: for the most part, we're well adjusted, contributing members of society (God, I'm leaving myself open here).

Rules, in this case, won't change. I just can't see that happening. However, if some guy wants to wear protection on his head, he can be my guest. I'm not so sure it'll make much difference in the long run.
 

Ballbaby

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I've often wondered if I have suffered any cognitive losses due to concussions. There are so many other factors that can influence a perceived cognitive loss. I think I used to be able to concentrate for longer periods of time when I was younger, but then again, I didn't have a 1/4 of what I have on my plate right now. I think I have suffered some loss but hardly enough to hinder my fate in life nor could anyone ever notice. It is very difficult to prove this with us at this point in time, but it wouldn't be difficult to prove with test subjects in a scientific study. Without honing in too much on the scientific side, I think it is feasible to suggest that heading can cause brain damage and belated brain injuries such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons for example. Boxing definately has supported this suggestion.
 

Dude

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Good topics

I’ve thought long and hard about the “Heading the ball contributing to concussion issue”. I’ve had my share, I’m sure of it. In hindsight, I’m sure the most significant concussions were caused due to head contact, or- like Ballbaby said- when you make heavy contact. I know for a fact that I am not nearly as sharp on Monday mornings as I am on other, and that has nothing to do with the Monday morning blues.

That said, although the findings / results on their own are significant, I don’t think it is a significant problem. I probably get more head injuries than most…certainly more than anyone I play with. I happen to play in the middle of the park, and am aggressive in the air. I’m off my feet 10-20 times per game challenging for a header. I also happen to be a stubborn prick, and don’t take time off as I should. If I’m on the side of the “worse case scenarios”, it can’t be that bad a problem. As Ballbaby put it, I think by emphasizing proper technique, you’ll see the biggest improvement without changing the game.

Keeper, I wanted to ask you about your shoulder. Do you have a good idea as to exactly what the problem is? I ask because I suffered a 2nd degree separation in the last part of June when I crashed in a downhill mountain bike race. I rehabbed right up until mid August, and found my progress stalled at about 70% recovered, where I’ve been ever since. I have since gone for a private MRI, and am now scheduled for surgery. I guess they found a tear in my rotator cuff (anterior supraspinatus tendon???) that wasn’t healing through rehab. The list is backed up between 3-4 months right now.

What is your prognosis? Have you seen significant progress in Physio?
 

The Apprentice

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Keeper,

I was looking up some info on the subject and found that there have been fatalities regarding the issue. The two happened to children aged 13 and 14. The cause of Death was head Trauma. Both boys claimed of headaches after heading the ball, then by the end of the game they had lost consciousness (sp).

The scary thing about this situation is that most injuries that occur from heading go unrepported. If you take a hard ball to the head and you are shaken up, most players walk it off and don't say nothing. All these reports are not conclusive enough to catch players, coaches, and the parents attention. It is gonna take something horrible to get people noticed about the issue. Hopefully it doesn't but it seems like there is no other way.:(
 

Gaffa

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Interesting...

Dude, has your PT given you any remedial ex. to do since the supraspinatus tendon diagnosis? There is quite a bit you can do to stregthen that particular muscle as opposed to just working on the Rotator cuff which is 4 muscles inc. the supraspinatus.
 

Dude

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Physio

Gaffa,

If that is English you're speaking, yes, both my sports med physician and surgeon have recommended some exercises to strengthen the area.

I was going pretty hard on the physio all through July and August, and have backed off to once / week (twice if I'm lucky) during soccer season. I didn't really help myself in that I raced both the Nationals and Canada Cup DH events at the beginning of August, when I was only 70% healed. I had a pretty bad crash during the Aug 1 race that "tweaked" my shoulder, so I went up for the next weekend and took training runs just to see how it was. I had some pretty clean runs and was lucky to get through the weekend unscathed. That was the only real setback, but nothing at all like the original injury, and I got back up to 70% pretty fast. I’ve since tweaked it a couple of times in games (tackles, etc.), but again, nothing serious.

The exercises are all pretty much along the same lines, isolating the area with free weights, and using mostly universal weights for the surrounding areas. With back, biceps, and close-in triceps, my strength is basically the same as pre-injury. In isolating, some exercises I’ve seen improvement on, but others none at all. Basically, I can’t do anything like bench press or shoulder press where the idea is to equally balance and distribute power. I need to isolate both sides because there is such a significant difference in strength. To give you an idea, I can’t catch with the arm if I’m playing baseball (I’m right-handed, catch w/ the left), and I can’t take throw-ins. I’m anxious to get surgery ASAP so I can get beyond this hump, and be ready for DH season in May. Dr. McCormack says the surgery is pretty minor and simple, and usually a 2-3 week recovery. I can’t remember the exact name.

You sound like you’re in the Sports Med field…if you have any ideas that could assist, I’m all ears.

Dude.
 

Dude

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Also

Gaffa: I failed to point out that my excersise program was given by my Physiotherapist. Again, open to suggestions.
 

Regs

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WTF?

To give you an idea, I can’t catch with the arm if I’m playing baseball (I’m right-handed, catch w/ the left)...
I can't believe you would admit to playing baseball here on TTP.

Have you no shame?

Good thing you're asking a cricketeer for help... :D

~TB.
 

Dude

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Don't slander me TB!

Easy there Robert!

I said if, not when. And, before you imply that I play cricket, NO, I DON"T. I was just drawing an analogy for Gaffa so he could get a clear picture.

Dude.
 

Dude

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Shoulder surgery follow-up

Gaffa,

Thought you’d be interested in the follow-up…

Had my surgery yesterday. Basically, the MRI was inconclusive, so he suggested the best course of action was to scope, and if the damage was minor enough, to repair on the spot.

When they got in there, they confirmed a partial tear in the rotator cuff, but also discovered that my bicep muscle was detached from the cartilage in the shoulder socket. They were successful in repairing both. I guess the muscle injury doesn’t show well on the MRI.

So, post-op I’m looking at 4 weeks in the sling with no movement whatsoever. This is a huge bummer. I was coping fine with soccer- even if I tackled hard, it wasn’t bothering me enough to come out of the game. No affect at all on fitness. I was also back riding…as long as I didn’t crash hard, I was fine. Now, instead of looking at a couple of weeks recovering from a tear repair- where I could conceivably get back on the field w/ in two weeks and riding w/ in 4 weeks- now I’m looking at no activity AT ALL for 4 weeks minimum. I’m going to drive my wife batty!

The good news is I can now look forward to near 100% recovery, instead of the 75% I’ve been stuck at. Summer DH season looks bright!

What has your experience been w/ these types of injuries?


Dude-where'smyfix?
 

Hands of Stone

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Smart Players don't Head the Ball, They Catch It

We all know why keepers are the smartest players on the pitch now, they sit back and watch all the dumbies head the ball all day.

HOSdoesn'tcatchtheballveryoften:rolleyes:
 

Gaffa

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Dude...

I've PMed you my opinions... In short, it sounds like you can drive 'her' batty for a month and soon be back up on ya 'push iron'. Give the rest of the footy season a miss though.

Regs'favouritecricketeer:p
 

Dude

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Fcuk!

Got your PM. Thx.

I suppose I really should just let it be for 4-6 weeks. It'll be fcuking torture though! Maybe the soccer gods will smile down on me and give a couple of postponements, while keeping us in the Cup run. shite! I'm already trying to find a way around this...

I guess I'll have to join the Captain and gang @ the Sundowner for darts so I can get my competitive fix. Full contact darts...I like the sounds of that...:eek:
 

spicoli

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ankles

The injury that happens at least once a year, I've just recently blown mine and of course everyone has there own remedies. I know mine but its always good to hear a couple more. So lets get it out in the open and share those secrets so we can all last through the cup without pain killers............greatly appreciated cause I realy want to play this weekend. Basically I need to play for my own sake cause I don't feel like watching from the bench.
 

Regs

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Talk to Captain Shamrock... he's blown both ankles about 10 times and still plays.

~TBfeelingalittleuneasytalkingabouttheCaptainblowinganything :eek:
 

Dude

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Ankles

I’ve had my share as well, including a plate w/ screws on my right tib. You’ll give it the best shot of recovery by spending the next three evenings in front of the TV:

1. Get a bucket of cold water w/ lots of ice cubes
2. Get a second bucket of warm water
3. Place your ankle in the cold bucket, leave for 15 minutes. Hurts like hell for the first 5-7, then goes numb.
4. Switch to warm bucket after 15 minutes in cold, and leave for 15 in warm.
5. Repeat 3 or 4 times.

You may need to re-fill the warm bucket in between to keep the water warm. Take lots of anti-inflammatory. Get a brace or tape it up for game day.

That’s how you treat it if you don’t want to do the right thing, and that’s to let it heal.

Yours in the one hand chicken peck,

Dude.
:cool:
 

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