Clinical Trial Examines Subconcussive Head Impacts From Soccer

JAMA Ophthalmology

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 11 A.M. (ET), THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2020

Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Keisuke Kawata, Ph.D., email Charles Conner-Rondot at crondot@indiana.edu. The full study and commentary are linked to this news release.

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Bottom Line: Subconcussive head impacts from sports are those that don’t cause symptoms of a concussion. This randomized clinical trial evaluated whether such subconcussive head impacts from soccer-ball headings impaired brain circuitry linking eye and cognitive functions in adult soccer players compared with a control group of players that only kicked the soccer ball. Neuro-ophthalmologic function was measured with a test of eye movement and brain functions such as attention, language and concentration. The study included 78 soccer players, of whom 40 players did 10 soccer-ball headings. Researchers report the kicking control group performed better on the test of neuro-ophthalmologic function at all points over 24 hours after the intervention than the heading group of players.  The findings suggest subconcussive head impacts may affect neuro-eye function, at least in the short term. Limitations of the study include an inability to determine the observed effects beyond 24 hours and it is unknown whether prior exposure to soccer-ball heading affected the players’ responses to 10 headings as part of the trial intervention.

Authors: Keisuke Kawata, Ph.D., Indiana University School of Public Health,­ Bloomington, and coauthors.

 

(doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.6128)

Editor’s Note: The article includes funding/support disclosures. Please see the articles for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, conflicts of interest and financial disclosures, and funding and support.

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