Background: It is a matter of debate whether or not ordinary heading of the ball in soccer causes injury to brain tissue.
Objective: To analyse concentrations of the biochemical markers of brain tissue damage S-100B and neurone specific enolase (NSE) in serum of female elite soccer players in association with a competitive game.
Methods: Venous blood samples were obtained from 44 female soccer players before and after a competitive game for analysis. The number of headers and trauma events (falls, collisions, etc) was assessed from videotape recordings for each player.
Results: Concentrations of both brain damage markers were increased after the game (S-100B, 0.18 (0.11) v 0.11 (0.05) μg/l (p = 0.000); NSE, 10.14 (1.74) v 9.05 (1.59) μg/l (p = 0.001)). There was a significant correlation between changes in S-100B concentrations and both the number of headers (r = 0.430, p = 0.004) and the number of other trauma events (r = 0.517, p<0.001).
Conclusion: The concentrations of both S-100B and NSE were increased by game associated activities and events. The increases in S-100B concentration were significantly related to the number of headers and other trauma events, which indicates that both these factors may have contributed to these increases.
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Competing interests: none declared
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