Objectives: Youth soccer is popular across the world and there is growing concerns about the safety of the sport, especially with regard to purposeful heading. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the frequency and characteristics (e.g. game vs practice) of purposeful soccer heading in youth players (ages 7-14) in the United States (US) and to better understand adherence to the 2015 U.S. Soccer heading guidelines. Methods: A total of 8,104 respondents from teams across 55 state youth soccer associations in the US completed the online survey. U-12 players were represented most, while more male (59%) versus female (41%) teams took part. Results: A majority of respondents (92.5%) indicated that their team adopted the guidelines. A large percentage of respondents (72%) indicated that they do not participate in soccer heading drills as part of their practice routines. A similarly large number of respondents reported none (49%) or a very small (i.e., 1-10) number of headers (44%) each week in games. Conclusions: These findings suggest the 2015 U.S. Soccer heading guidelines appear to have been widely adopted in the United States, and that the number of exposures reported in our survey from heading a soccer ball in practices and games in these age groups of youth players is low.
- aerial challenges
- competitive matches
- repetitive head impacts
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management