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Repetitive head impacts from soccer heading may result in concussions in female athletes. Problem Statement: Concussion assessments exist with efforts to limit headers. Heading drills performed in different environments have conflicting results regarding influences on assessments. Approach: To evaluate, within an ecological realsetting environment with unpredictable conditions reflective of game situations, a heading drill’s effect on the King-Devick (K-D) and Biodex Biosway Balance Assessment (CTSIB-M). Preseason and post-heading metrics were taken for eleven female high school varsity soccer players (16 ± 1.4 years old) using K-D and CTSIB-M. K-D and CTSIB-M tests were repeated following a heading drill (HD). The number of headers and acceleration data during HD was recorded by Triax Smart Impact Monitor-G (SIM-G). Results: Each participant had an average of six headers (± 2.9 SD) with acceleration (minimum to maximum 27.5 ± 3.4 g to 57.4 ± 9.9 g) recorded by Triax SIM-G. K-D score time (42.9 ± 6.8 se conds compared to 41.6 ± 4.9 seconds, p = 0.37) and CTSIB-M sway index (0.79 ± 0.13 compared to 0.83 ± 0.13 cm, p = 0.17) pre- and post-test scores lacked statistical significance. Conclusion: It failed to show a correlation with head acceleration data (e.g., linear and rotational accelerations). A single soccer heading drill may not affect performance on the K-D and CTSIB-M. Regularly monitoring different metrics (e.g., K-D or CTSIB-M) for teams who practice more aggressive heading drills may inform training such skills while identifying potentially detrimental effects from repetitive soccer heading impacts during a competitive season.


This article was originally published in Journal of Physical Education and Sport, volume 23, issue 5, in 2023.

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