Don’t be so concerned with banging your head with another soccer player that you forget that heading the ball can be as equally dangerous.
As players get older and play on more competitive soccer teams they are very often encouraged to head the ball; of course, other than the goalie, you cannot use your hands; so your feet and head are certainly “logical” alternatives.
A recent study by Imperial College London examined the impact of heading a ball and its correlation to soccer concussions.
Researchers measured the effect of having soccer balls repeatedly strike a mannequins’ head at from a distance and speed that would most likely replicate that of a heading a ball during a game. They then compared these results to that of a simulated test of heed-to-head contact.
The results? Well, there was very little difference between the two tests indicating that heading the ball is just as dangerous as hitting heads with another play or the goal post.
They also ran the soccer ball test with soccer headgear and, after reviewing the data, concluded there was no difference with our without headgear. (Further, the researchers noted that having the wrong headgear can be more dangerous that not wearing it at all.)
Having the soccer ball properly inflated – and not over inflated, using a ball that will not absorb water and the correct ball size will all help to reduce the risk of injury from heading the ball.