Article

Neuropsychological Impairment as a Consequence of Football (Soccer) Play and Football Heading: Preliminary Analyses and Report on University Footballers

School of Psychology, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology (Impact Factor: 2.08). 05/2005; 27(3):299-319. DOI: 10.1080/13803390490515504
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Previous research has claimed neuropsychological impairment occurs as a result of professional and amateur football play, and, specifically, football heading. However, much of this research exhibits substantial methodological problems (Rutherford, Stephens, & Potter, 200351.

Rutherford , A. ,
Stephens , R. and
Potter , D. 2003. The neuropsychology of heading and head trauma in association football (soccer): A review. Neuropsychology Review, 13: 153–179. [PUBMED][INFOTRIEVE][CSA][CROSSREF] [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]View all references). By investigating less committed amateur level footballers, the current study sought to gain some insight into the developmental history of any neuropsychological consequences of football play. University football, rugby and noncontact sports players were compared on a range of biographical and neuropsychological test variables. While playing their chosen sports, rugby players sustained many more head injuries than footballers and noncontact sportsmen, but footballers did not sustain significantly more head injuries than noncontact sportsmen. The number of head injuries sustained predicted Trails B and TAP Divided Attention latencies in a positive fashion. After controlling for the number of head injuries sustained, sport group effects were detected with TAP Divided Attention accuracy scores, with footballers exhibiting poorest performance. After controlling for the number of head injuries sustained, the total amount of heading done by footballers predicted the number of Wisconsin Card Sorting category shifts in a negative fashion. Nevertheless, over interpretation of all of these results should be resisted because of the exploratory nature of the analyses and the possibility that the sport groups may differ in ways other than just the nature of their sports activities.

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    • "Studies by Smodlaka (1984) and Sortland and Tysvaer (1989) state that on average rate the footballer uses heading 5-6 times during matches. Later studies raise this number up to 6-12 on average (Levy et al., 2012; Spiotta et al., 2012; Matser et al., 1999), some suggest even 16 headings an average match (Rutherford et al., 2005). A sum of 10 headings must be added to the average rate, if we include trainings (Rutherford et al., 2003). "

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    • "The Trail Making Test (TMT) is one of the commonly used tests for assessment of attention shifting because of its high sensitivity to the presence of cognitive impairment in minor stress and trauma.15 Motor speed and agility have been found to make a strong contribution to success on TMT.16 Actually, Rutherford et al.17 estimated athlete executive function and attention using WCST and Trail Making Test A/B in soccer athletes. Pineda and Merchan18 also reported that WCST and TMT A/B were useful methods to assess executive function which had multiple dimensions and different cognitive operations for anticipation, goal selection, organization, planning, monitoring, shifting, controlling time, and speed, and using environmental feedback. "
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    • "Le statut des fonctions exécutives dans la détermination du comportement est à revoir en fonction de ces résultats. Plusieurs travaux ont décrit des dysfonctionnements exécutifs chez les sportifs commotionnés (Collins et al., 1999 ; Echemendia et al., 2001 ; Koh et al., 2003 ; Rutherford et al. 2005). Aucun de ces auteurs ne s'est demandé si les déficits observés sont secondaires à la commotion ou secondaires et préludes à la commotion. "
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