30 Nov '11, 4am

Scientists say footballers who regularly head the ball could put themselves at risk of brain damage

LONDON - Footballers who regularly head the ball could be putting themselves at risk of long-term brain damage, scientists believe. They say they have found "compelling evidence" of brain changes that lead to problems with memory, attention, planning ability and even sight. Those who head the ball more than about 1,000 times a year - or 20 times a match for those playing weekly - are in danger, say the American researchers. They scanned the brains of 32 amateur players, whose average age was 31, and who had all been playing regularly since childhood. All were asked how regularly they headed the ball, and were ranked accordingly. The researchers found that those who headed the ball the most had more damaged nerve cells in white matter in the brain. Dr Michael Lipton, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said while heading a ball was not enough to "lacerat...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC111130-0000058/Headin...

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