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No neurochemical evidence for brain injury caused by heading in soccer
  1. Henrik Zetterberg (henrik.zetterberg{at}clinchem.gu.se)
  1. Neuroscience and Physiology, Sweden
    1. Michael Jonsson (michael.jonsson{at}neuro.gu.se)
    1. Neuroscience and Physiology, Sweden
      1. Abdullah Rasulzada (abbe1981{at}hotmail.com)
      1. Neuroscience and Physiology, Sweden
        1. Cornel Popa (cornelsson{at}hotmail.com)
        1. Neuroscience and Physiology, Sweden
          1. Ewa Styrud (ewa.styrud{at}neuro.gu.se)
          1. Neuroscience and Physiology, Sweden
            1. Albert Hietala (albert.hietala{at}gu.se)
            1. Neuroscience and Physiology, Sweden
              1. Lars Rosengren (lars.rosengren{at}neuro.gu.se)
              1. Neuroscience and Physiology, Sweden
                1. Anders Wallin (anders.wallin{at}neuro.gu.se)
                1. Neuroscience and Physiology, Sweden
                  1. Kaj Blennow (kaj.blennow{at}neuro.gu.se)
                  1. Neuroscience and Physiology, Sweden

                    Abstract

                    Background: The possible injurious effect to the brain of heading in soccer is a matter of discussion. Objective: To determine whether standardised headings in soccer are associated with elevated levels of biochemical markers for neuronal injury in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum.

                    Methods: A total of 23 male amateur soccer players took part in a heading training session involving heading a ball kicked from a distance of 30 m at least 10 m forward. Ten players performed 10 and 13 players performed 20 approved headings. The players underwent lumbar puncture (LP) and serum sampling 7-10 days after the headings. The study also included 10 healthy male non-athletic control individuals. CSF was analysed for neurofilament light protein (NF-L), total tau (T-tau), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), S-100B, and albumin concentrations. Serum was analysed for S-100B and albumin.

                    Results: None of the biomarker levels were abnormal and there were no significant differences between any of the three groups, except for a slightly elevated CSF S-100B concentration in controls compared with headers. Biomarker levels did not correlate to the number of headings performed.

                    Conclusion: Repeated low severity head impacts due to heading in soccer are not associated with any neurochemical signs of injury to the brain.

                    • biomarkers
                    • brain injury
                    • cerebrospinal fluid
                    • heading
                    • soccer

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