This past Friday, we all made the transition from obnoxious American sports fanatics to obnoxious European sports fanatics! Adorning French face paint, we headed up to the top of the stadium to rugby, I mean, football, which was surprisingly brutal physically for the players. I counted 6 potential head injuries for my chosen player, #7. Luckily, it seems that there actually has been extensive research into both the implications of soccer-related head injuries and how they can be prevented as early as youth soccer leagues. In fact, one study looked at implicating behavioral skills training, or BST, into youth soccer programs to demonstrate and enforce a safer means of “heading” the ball that leads to less physical duress. These researchers found that there was vast improvement amongst the players after BST as opposed to players without BST, so perhaps this practice should be implemented in more youth sports programs.
Quintero, L. M., Moore, J. W., Yeager, M. G., Rowsey, K., Olmi, D. J., Britton‐Slater, J., Harper, M. L., & Zezenski, L. E. (2019). Reducing risk of head injury in youth soccer: An extension of behavioral skills training for heading. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. https://doi.org/10.1002/jaba.557