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Medstar Health Monday - Week 20

Is heading bad for you?

Let’s debunk a few myths and misleading news stories! Recent studies report that frequent heading in soccer may
increase the risk of concussions. Yes, concussions are a common head injury in the sport of soccer. But keep in mind,
head injuries only account for up to 20% of all injuries on the soccer field. Most concussions result from head-to-head
and head-to-ground impact, or an unexpected ball to the head. There is no direct correlation shown between heading a
soccer ball and immediate or gradual onset of concussive symptoms.
As stated in our previous educational installment, “Protective Headgear for Soccer Athletes,” we just don’t know enough
yet. More clinical research is necessary and always best practice. What we do know is most head injuries are sustained
when the athlete is not prepared or in the right position to head the ball. The head can withstand direct forces if the
body is prepared. A skilled soccer player is able to head the ball in a controlled manner making contact with the ball in
the appropriate spot and contracting their neck muscles for stabilization.
Repeated head contacts pose the most risk for long-term injury. Minimize your heading drills and encourage players to
not be afraid. Add neck and core strengthening to team exercise regimens and place emphasis on proper timing, form,
and mechanics with heading the ball. Practice makes perfect. Use your heads!

Click here to learn about concussions

Baltimore Union Sports Medicine Team

Union Sports Medicine Liaison: Bryan Caplan, DPT, MTC ([email protected])
Athletic Trainer:Amber Radtke, MS, LAT, ATC, NASM-CES ([email protected])
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Jay Dyer, CSCS ([email protected])
Vice President of MedStar Sport Medicine: Sean Huffman
Director of MedStar Sports Medicine Research: Andy Lincoln

Baltimore City (Harbor Hospital)
Physician: Jeffrey Mayer, Leigh Ann Curl
Sports PT: Chadd Baldwin
Concussion PT: Emily Coates

Baltimore County (Franklin Square)
Urgent Care: MedStar Franklin Square ED
Physician: Frank Dawson, David Cohen, Christopher Looze
Sports PT: Ryan Zimmerman
Concussion PT: Michael Ariete, Jana Bille

Baltimore County (Dundalk)
Physician: Kelly Ryan
Sports & Concussion PT: Laura Long

Baltimore County (Timonium)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care Towson
Physician: Andrew Tucker, Richard Levine, Melita Moore
Sports PT: Chad Keller
Concussion PT: Patrick Miller

Harford County (Bel Air)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care
Physician: Sean Curtain
Sports PT: Chelsea Mitchell
Concussion PT: Adrienne Nelson
Concussion PT: Tori Palmer

Baltimore County (Perry Hall)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care
Sports PT: Stephanie Stover
Concussion PT: Mark Musselman

MedStar Sports Medicine is the official medical team for the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Baltimore Blast, Washington Spirit, and more than 50 additional professional, collegiate, high school, and club teams.


Amber Radtke

Bryan Caplan
-Physical Therapist

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