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Cognitive ability in former professional football (soccer) players is associated with estimated heading frequency

Bruno, D and Rutherford, A (2021) Cognitive ability in former professional football (soccer) players is associated with estimated heading frequency. Journal of Neuropsychology. ISSN 1748-6645

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Abstract

Objectives. The link between football (soccer) headings and dementia risk is a concern given the popularity of this sport worldwide. To assess this link, the cognitive ability of former professional players was tested and self-reported estimates on heading frequency were collected.
Methods. A survey was co-designed with former players to gather demographics data; information on playing career, including playing position; estimates of total head injuries sustained in training and match play; and estimates of heading frequency during training and match play. Data then were collected by post from 60 males (mean age = 67.5; SD = 9.5), who had played professionally for teams in England. In addition to the survey, each individual also completed the Test Your Memory (TYM) self-administered cognitive test to evaluate overall ability.
Results. Bayesian and traditional linear regression analyses were carried out using the TYM score as outcome. Predictors were estimated career head injuries and estimated career headers, while we controlled for age and reported non-football head injuries. The results of our analyses showed that estimated career headers, but not estimated career head injuries, predicted TYM scores.
Conclusion. To our knowledge, this is the first study to provide direct evidence supporting a link between heading the ball and cognitive impairment in retired professional football players.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bruno, D. and Rutherford, A. (2021), Cognitive ability in former professional football (soccer) players is associated with estimated heading frequency. J Neuropsychol. , which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/jnp.12264. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical and Health Sciences, 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Psychology (new Sep 2019)
Publisher: The British Psychological Society (Wiley)
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2021 10:07
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2021 12:15
DOI or Identification number: 10.1111/jnp.12264
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15679

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