Header goals in football matches are beautiful to watch as spectators, and several legends including Miroslav Klose have astonished soccer fans with their unique header goals.
However, a new study report has suggested that soccer headers are not good for players, as they will eventually decline their brain function.
The study report presented this week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America suggests that soccer headings could lead to a measurable decline in the microstructure and function of the brain over a two-year period, Eurekalert reports.
"There is enormous worldwide concern for brain injury in general and in the potential for soccer heading to cause long-term adverse brain effects in particular," said Michael L. Lipton, professor of radiology at Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians, who was the lead author of the study.
He added: "A large part of this concern relates to the potential for changes in young adulthood to confer risk for neurodegeneration and dementia later in life."
Even though previous research reports has examined adverse effects on the brain related to soccer heading at a single point in time, this new study which involved 148 young adult amateur soccer players looked at brain changes over two years.
The study found that high levels of heading over the two-year period were associated with changes in brain microstructure similar to findings seen in mild traumatic brain injuries.
Lipton added: "High levels of heading were also associated with a decline in verbal learning performance."
In the second phase of their study, researchers noted that prolonged exposure to football headings will turn the normally sharp gray matter-white matter interface into blunt.
"These findings add to the ongoing conversation and contentious debate as to whether soccer heading is benign or confers significant risk," Lipton added.