Evidence of Cognitive Dysfunction after Soccer Playing with Ball Heading Using a Novel Tablet-Based Approach

Zhang, Marsha R.; Red, Stuart D.; Lin, Angela H.; Patel, Saumil S.; Sereno, Anne B.
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Does frequent head-to-ball contact cause cognitive dysfunctions and brain injury to soccer players? An iPad-based experiment was designed to examine the impact of ball-heading among high school female soccer players. We examined both direct, stimulus-driven, or reflexive point responses (Pro-Point) as well as indirect, goal-driven, or voluntary point responses (Anti-Point), thought to require cognitive functions in the frontal lobe. The results show that soccer players were significantly slower than controls in the Anti-Point task but displayed no difference in Pro-Point latencies, indicating a disruption specific to voluntary responses. These findings suggest that even subconcussive blows in soccer can result in cognitive function changes that are consistent with mild traumatic brain injury of the frontal lobes. There is great clinical and practical potential of a tablet-based application for quick detection and monitoring of cognitive dysfunction.


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