Of the sports-related injuries athletes could sustain, a traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. For this reason, people who are playing sports should strive to avoid any jolts or blows to the head. This can be difficult in soccer, a sport where heading the ball is considered acceptable.
If individuals play soccer on a regular basis and often head the ball, they may want to consider taking an IQ test. After all, new research from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston reveals that this move could alter their cognitive performance.
In the study, the results of which were published in "PLOS ONE," an open access journal, researchers investigated what effect non-injurious heading has on the brain over time. A sample of high school soccer players and non-players were asked to use a mobile app that tested their ability to complete cognitive tasks.
The researchers found that the soccer players took longer to complete the tasks than those who did not play the sport. As a result, they believe that heading a soccer ball may in fact alter the brain.