Minimizing head acceleration in soccer : a review of the literature

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Bibliographic Details
Title translated into German:Minimierung der Kopfbeschleunigung im Fußball : eine Analyse der Literatur
Author:Caccese, Jaclyn B.; Kaminski, Thomas W.
Published in:Sports medicine
Published:46 (2016), 11, S. 1591-1604, Lit.
Format: Publications (Database SPOLIT)
Publication Type: Journal article
Media type: Electronic resource (online) Print resource
ISSN:0112-1642, 1179-2035
Online Access:
Identification number:PU201611007991

Author's abstract

Physicians and healthcare professionals are often asked for recommendations on how to keep athletes safe during contact sports such as soccer. With an increase in concussion awareness and concern about repetitive subconcussion, many parents and athletes are interested in mitigating head acceleration in soccer, so we conducted a literature review on factors that affect head acceleration in soccer. We searched electronic databases and reference lists to find studies using the keywords ‘soccer’ OR ‘football’ AND ‘head acceleration’. Because of a lack of current research in soccer heading biomechanics, this review was limited to 18 original research studies. Low head–neck segment mass predisposes athletes to high head acceleration, but head–neck–torso alignment during heading and follow-through after contact can be used to decrease head acceleration. Additionally, improvements in symmetric neck flexor and extensor strength and neuromuscular neck stiffness can decrease head acceleration. Head-to-head impacts and unanticipated ball contacts result in the highest head acceleration. Ball contacts at high velocity may also be dangerous. The risk of concussive impacts may be lessened through the use of headgear, but headgear may also cause athletes to play more recklessly because they feel a sense of increased security. Young, but physically capable, athletes should be taught proper heading technique in a controlled setting, using a carefully planned progression of the skill.