The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is launching a study of up to 3,000 high school soccer players to examine whether headgear can reduce concussions in soccer.
“The rate of concussion in girls high school soccer is 4th highest, behind only football, boys ice hockey and lacrosse, and high-school girls soccer players get concussed at almost twice the rate as their male counterparts,” said Dr. Alison Brooks, assistant professor in the UW Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Division of Sports Medicine.
Football, ice hockey and lacrosse are all sports in which players are required to wear headgear, the use of which in soccer has been controversial.
“A lot of times with concussions, you have the rotational force that causes a concussion. The headgear that soccer players wear doesn’t help prevent that anymore than not wearing anything,” Chris Carter, M.D., a family and sports medicine physician with Brookwood Baptist Health Primary Care Network at Grand River in Leeds, told ABC 33/40 reporter Brian Pia.
“[Headgear] may actually lead to more aggressive play, more aggressive tackling, more aggressive heading, and put the athlete at risk of having worse concussions,” said Ricardo Colberg, M.D., a non-surgical orthopaedic and sports medicine physician with Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center in Pelham.
The UW study, which will involved 88 Wisconsin high schools, is funded by a $300,000 grant from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).