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Immediate effects of an acute bout of repeated soccer heading on cognitive performance

Ashton, J, Coyles, G, Malone, JJ and Roberts, JW (2020) Immediate effects of an acute bout of repeated soccer heading on cognitive performance. Science and Medicine in Football, 5 (3). pp. 181-187. ISSN 2473-3938

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Purpose: There has been a growing concern surrounding the harmful effects of soccer heading on cognitive function. The present study aims to examine the immediate effects of heading.
Methods: 30 recreational male soccer players were divided into three groups that undertook 20 consecutive headers with a soft (8.8 psi), hard (16.2 psi), or no (control) ball. All groups completed a battery of neuropsychological tests before and after the heading intervention: King-Devick, trail-making (TM) (A and B), digit span (DS) and spatial span (SS) (forward and backward).
Results: Significant increase in the time (M = 4.44 s) and errors (M = 1.45) for the King-Devick test within the hard and soft groups, although there was no significant difference for TM-A and TM-B. Significant decline for SS forward within the hard and soft groups (M = -16%), although the declines for SS backward (M = -16%), DS forward (M = -23%) and DS backward (M = -25%) were present only for the hard group (ps < .05).
Discussion: While outside of regular match-play, this study showed that heading negatively influenced participants in terms of one of the indicators of a suspected concussion (King-Devick), as well as working memory (DS, SS) that is essential for daily life. These findings contribute to the growing research on heading with a view to informing safety guidelines and regulation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Science and Medicine in Football accepted on 15/11/20, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/24733938.2020.1846769
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2020 10:15
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 13:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/24733938.2020.1846769
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13986
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