Soccer made headlines in November, as men’s teams vied for the final few slots in the 2018 World Cup. On the subject of soccer and heads, there was other news, as well: Researchers presenting midmonth at the Society for Neuroscience meeting revealed that heading the soccer ball may be riskier for women than men.
Popular Science covered the story, and as senior editor Sophie Bushwick explains, studies have already shown brain changes in soccer players who head the ball around 1,000 times per year or more.
“So, when you think about brain trauma, you tend to think more about … football players as opposed to soccer players,” Bushwick says. “But even though when a soccer player heads a ball, they’re not hitting it hard enough to get a concussion, they can still, over time, damage their brains.”