Analysis of Head Impact Biomechanics in Youth Female Soccer Players Following the Get aHEAD Safely in Soccer™ Heading Intervention

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Wahlquist, V. E., & Kaminski, T. W..



The effects of repetitive head impacts associated with soccer heading, especially in the youth population, are unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine balance, neurocognitive function, and head impact biomechanics after an acute bout of heading before and after the Get aHEAD Safely in Soccer™ program intervention. Twelve youth female soccer players wore a Triax SIM-G head impact sensor during two bouts of heading, using a lightweight soccer ball, one before and one after completion of the Get aHEAD Safely in Soccer™ program intervention. Participants completed balance (BESS and SWAY) and neurocognitive function (ImPACT) tests at baseline and after each bout of heading. There were no significant changes in head impact biomechanics, BESS, or ImPACT scores pre- to post-season. Deficits in three of the five SWAY positions were observed from baseline to post-season. Although we expected to see beneficial changes in head impact biomechanics following the intervention, the coaches and researchers observed an improvement in heading technique/form. Lightweight soccer balls would be a beneficial addition to header drills during training as they are safe and help build confidence in youth soccer players.

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