Researchers have found that heading a soccer ball can cause near instantaneous damage to the brain.

The study from the United Kingdom had people head the soccer ball in a span of 10 minutes of a typical practice. After they headed the ball, they were tested on both long and short-term memory. The results? They responded incorrectly at a significantly higher rate than on their baseline test.

In fact, memory test results were lower by as much as 67 percent after heading the ball. Thankfully, the problems seem to correct themselves after 24 hours, but researchers say there is still potential for long-term damage. This test has long-reaching ramifications for the study of brain science.

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, with millions of kids playing internationally. Who knows what long-term damage heading a soccer ball can do? Science has yet to figure that out. But knowing the short-term problems it can cause, parents should reconsider how their children play the game.

As researchers continue to understand how the brain works and why it is affected by even minor hits from a soccer ball, it will be interesting to see how the game evolves. Perhaps in a few years, heading the ball will be openly discouraged or even banned from the game. Until then, be aware of the potential for damage the move could have on your kids.

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