Picture of Wimbledon Clinics

Wimbledon Clinics

Most concussions in youth football caused by player to player contact

Contact us for an appointment

*At Wimbledon Clinics we comply with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (UK). We will never share your data without your permission and we will only use your data how you’ve asked us to. Please let us know if you’d like to join our mailing list to receive updates about our specialist consultants, the latest treatments for orthopaedic and sports injuries and prevention tips for common injuries.

For more information, click here to view our privacy policy

Player to player contact is the most common way that young football players sustain concussions during practice or games.

A retrospective study in the United States, published in JAMA Pediatrics, looked at trends in concussions over time and identified the mechanisms of concussion as well as the football-specific activities during which most concussions occurred.

The researchers found that contact with another player was the number one cause of concussions among high school soccer (football) players, accounting for 68.8% of boys´ concussions and 51.3% of girls´.

Heading the ball was the most common football-specific activity linked to concussions, responsible for about one third of boys´ concussions and one quarter of those sustained by girls.

Looking specifically at the heading-related concussions, contact with another player was the most common mechanism of injury.

In the United States, concussion rates have risen and concerns have been raised about the safety of heading the ball. Some have called for a ban on heading among football players aged under 14 years.

However, this study suggests that such a ban would have limited effectiveness in preventing concussion injuries — unless it is combined with efforts to reduce athlete-athlete contact throughout the game — because most are caused by player to player contact.

Writing in JAMA Pediatrics, the researchers concluded: “Although heading is the most common activity associated with concussions, the most frequent mechanism was athlete-athlete contact. Such information is needed to drive evidence-based, targeted prevention efforts to effectively reduce soccer-related concussions.

“Although banning heading from youth soccer would likely prevent some concussions, reducing athlete-athlete contact across all phases of play would likely be a more effective way to prevent concussions as well as other injuries.”