MADISON (WKOW) — After crunching through the numbers from 2,766 high school players in a study of concussions in soccer, researcher Dr. Tim McGuine came to an interesting conclusion about the use of headgear.
“Headgear, if we grouped them together, didn’t seem really to have an effect. However, some of the headgear did have a lower rate of concussions, which was surprising. We thought all of the headgear was the same. We found that it isn’t. There’s a big difference.”
McGuine found only specific types of headgear seemed to help at all. His study also indicated most concussions are not a result of headers.
“About 1/3 of the concussions in our study were head-to-ball contact….Most of the concussions we saw were from body-to-body contact, incidental contact or head-to-ground contact. So, this idea if we take heading out of the game, it’s going to reduce a lot of concussions, that may not be the case.”
The University of Wisconsin study also showed female soccer players are at a greater risk of suffering a concussion.
“The female soccer players in our study are more than three times greater risk or 2.5 to three times greater risk of having a concussion than their male counterparts,” says McGuine.
The distinguished scientist stresses more studies are needed. He says the schools he worked with were very receptive to his research. However, McGuine believes a mindset shift is needed in the soccer community as a whole.
“By and large, the soccer community has not been very welcoming of sports medicine innovation in terms of concussion awareness, concussion prevention. I like to say, in some cases, the soccer community is where football was 35 years ago.”