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Footballers who head the ball are more likely to have balance problems, according to a study.
The impact of a ball bouncing off the skull is enough to affect the brain works, and repeated impacts could have lasting effects.
England - Fans - Players - Harry - Kane
So, although England fans will be happy players Harry Kane and Dele Alli have scored with their heads in this World Cup – and wing-back Kieran Trippier often crosses the ball into the penalty box – it may not be such good news for the players' brains.
Players who head the ball more often are at risk of damaging the white matter in their brains, which can affect memory and thinking skills.
Researchers - University - Delaware - Studies - Findings
The researchers from the University of Delaware now say more studies need to be done to back up their findings.
A study on a group of 20 footballers with an average age of 22 tested their ability to walk in a straight line with their eyes closed.
Part - Test - Players - Equipment - Feeling
In one part of the test the players wore equipment which simulated the feeling of falling sideways to see how well they corrected their balance.
Scientists compared the players' ability to walk straight with how often they each reported heading the ball during practice or matches.
'Headers - Structure - Brain
'Headers can change the structure of the brain'
Players who head the ball more often are less able to correct their balance during the test, which the researchers put down to damage to the brain caused by headers.
Author - Study - John - Jeka - 'Soccer
The author of the study, John Jeka said: 'Soccer headers are repetitive subconcussive head impacts that may be associated with problems with thinking and memory skills and structural changes in the white matter of the brain.
'But the effect of headers on balance control has not been studied.'
Number - Headers - Players - Year - Average
The number of headers the players did in a year ranged from 16 to 2,100, with an average of...
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