Soccer Head Injuries

Soccer is the world’s most played sport, and as a sport with minimal protective gear, soccer opens itself up to the dangers of head injuries and brain trauma in a way other sports do not.

With the sport’s high-contact and fast-paced play, soccer players can sometimes become victims of serious head injuries.

It also doesn’t help that the head is an integral point of contact to play defense, make passes, and score goals. 

Suffering from a traumatic brain injury in sports can be devastating, and survivors and their families are left to deal with medical, financial, and legal challenges.

If you or a loved one suffered a head injury in sports or brain injury in sports, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Contact a sports brain injury lawyer today to find out whether you qualify to participate in a sports head injury lawsuit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Symptoms usually appear within 24 hours, but sometimes may not appear until 3 weeks after the initial incident.

Symptoms can last for days, weeks, months and even years in the most severe cases.

Physical symptoms of a head injury, like a concussion, include:

  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Blurry vision

Other symptoms include:

  • Confusion or brain fog
  • Amnesia after the incident
  • Dizziness

22% of soccer injuries are concussions.

The number of concussions is undoubtedly higher as many go unreported and untreated.

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Table of Contents

Soccer Head Injuries Facts & Statistics

Soccer head injuries are extremely prevalent at all levels of play, from professional and college leagues, to highschool and youth games.

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, as many as 22% of all soccer injuries are concussions.

Another study, compiling data of over 80,000 high school soccer players, found that female soccer players are twice as likely to suffer concussion as their male counterparts.

40 percent of soccer concussions are attributed to head to player contact:

  • 10.3 percent are head to ground, goal post, wall, etc.
  • 12.6 percent are head to soccer ball, including accidents
  • 37 percent are not specified

What Head Injuries are Common in Soccer?

These are some of the most common head injuries in soccer:

Concussion

The most common of all head injuries in soccer, concussions range in severity from minor knocks to serious injuries that can cause other health problems and require extensive treatment.

A concussion is defined as temporary unconsciousness or confusion caused by a blow to the head.

Contusion

A contusion is a bruise to the brain itself.

Contusions are frequently paired with concussions and are sometimes life threatening, requiring immediate medical attention.

Hematoma

Hematoma is a blood clot formed either on the surface of the brain (subdural), within the skull (intracranial), or when a blood vessel ruptures between the outer surface of the dura mater and the skull (epidural).

Subdural hematoma occur within up to 25% of people with brain injuries and can be extremely serious

In the worst cases these injuries can lead to:

  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Breathing problems
  • Coma

Intracranial hematoma blood collection can be within the brain tissue or underneath the skull, pressing on the brain.

Epidural hematoma is often a life-threatening condition that may require immediate intervention and can lead to extreme brain injury or death if left untreated.

Skull Fracture

A skull fracture is a break in the bone of the skull.

There are four types of skull fractures, the most common being a linear fracture where the bone breaks but does not change position.

Depressed skull fractures result in the bone being sunken in from trauma.

Diastatic fractures happen along the suture lines of the skull, the areas between skull bones that fuse in development as a child.

Basilar fractures are the most serious type of skull fracture and entail a breaking of the bone at the base of the skull.

Other related injuries

Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries are incredibly serious and can result in permanent damage - such as paralysis, and loss of quality in life.

Facial Injuries

Facial injuries are common in hockey and can result in permanent damage or scarring.

These injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Lacerations
  • Facial bone fractures
  • Damage to the eyes
  • Other miscellaneous injuries

CTE in Soccer

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive brain condition that's thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion.

Common symptoms of CTE include:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impulse control problems
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Suicidality
  • Parkinsonism
  • And, eventually, progressive dementia

CTE in former soccer players is of growing concern to medical professionals.

In a study of 14 retired players, who were followed for years after their retirement and later had their brains analyzed in autopsies, four were diagnosed with CTE.

As medical research on CTE has only recently become mainstream, and due to the fact that CTE can only be accurately diagnosed after death - it’s safe to say that more retired players are afflicted with the condition than data shows.

Common Causes of Soccer Head Injuries

Concussions and other soccer brain injuries can occur in a variety of ways.

Collisions with other players’ heads, shoulders, elbows, knees, and cleats can cause significant injuries.

Players’ heads can also come into contact with goalposts and the ground, another risk to brain health.

Heading the ball over periods of years, entailing a sustained level of trauma to the head, can potentially lead to long-term neurological issues that impair judgment, impulse control, planning, and other cognitive functions.

How Can Soccer Head Injuries Be Prevented?

Protective Equipment for the Head

Although protective gear for the head is uncommon and rarely seen in soccer, there have been efforts to promote the use of helmets or headbands with protective materials.

Players who have previously suffered head injuries are more likely to consider this sort of equipment, but arguments have been made to market them to players regardless of injury history.

Rule Changes

There have been discussions on outlawing headers from the professional arena of the sport, but as expected, there has been equal amounts of backlash as the action is deemed instrumental to the game.

A ban was effectively placed on headers in youth soccer for players aged 10 & under in the US after a lawsuit was filed against the US Soccer Federation by a group of concerned parents and players.

There has also been research conducted that points to the inflation levels of a ball contributing to injuries, and that if a ball was slightly deflated, 20% of injuries could be avoided.

Apart from headers, rules have been in place for decades to dissuade players from dangerous foul play that can lead to head injuries, such as penalizing high kicks and tackles that put players at risk.

Medical Research on Soccer Head Injuries

According to an extensive review of medical literature on soccer head injuries, up to 22% of all soccer injuries are head/neck injuries with a reported incidence of 1.7 injuries per 1000 playing hours.

At a head injury summit meeting in 2017, experts compiled and compared research on soccer head injuries.

One study presented at the summit found that up to 40 percent of youth soccer players indicated that they wouldn't report their concussion symptoms to anyone.

This is a disturbing and telling fact, and shows that although we see high rates of these injuries reported, many go unreported - and the undocumented effects can have lifelong consequences.

Determining Liability for a Soccer Head Injury

Determining liability for a soccer brain injury can be difficult.

Every case is different, with unique factors and situations leading to and following the injury.

The liable party could be a number of different people or groups:

  • Coaches
  • Venue or property owners responsible for providing a safe environment. This includes providing a safe playing surface for athletes.
  • League or competition organizers
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Doctors or medical professionals
  • Other players
  • The player who was injured
  • Shared liability between two or more parties

It is important to understand who is possibly liable for a sports brain injury in order to properly assess liability.

A soccer head injury lawyer from TorHoerman Law can also assist you in establishing all liable parties.

Steps to File a Soccer Brain Injury Lawsuit

The first step in any personal injury lawsuit is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.

If you have suffered a brain injury in sports, you should contact a sports head injury lawyer right away.

Your state statute of limitations bars you from taking legal action after an allotted time, so do not hesitate to seek legal aid right away.

Once you have successfully contacted a sports head injury lawyer, you need to begin the steps to filing a sports brain injury lawsuit.

You may want to familiarize yourself with the steps in the civil litigation process before you move forward.

You should begin collecting evidence as soon as possible after the injury has occurred.

In a sports brain injury lawsuit, some of the best evidence to support your claim includes:

  • Medical bills
  • Personal accounts
  • Witness testimony
  • First responder reports

Any evidence should be well-documented and organized.

Your sports head injury lawyer will be able to determine all the evidence that you may need.

You should also actively work to mitigate further injury by seeking medical attention right away and following your doctor’s orders.

Your sports head injury lawyer will help you to assess the damages that you incurred as a result of the injury – depending on the situation, you may choose to make a demand for both compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Your sports head injury lawyer can also help you to determine liability – which party(s) is liable to provide compensation for the damages that you incurred.

Because many sports injuries occur on privately-owned premises, you should familiarize yourself with the concept of premises liability.

Your sports head injury lawyer may determine that the premises owner is liable for your injuries.

Finding a Soccer Brain Injury Lawyer

Dealing with a sports brain injury, either directly or by helping a loved one, is a difficult experience.

It can feel emotionally draining, intimidating, and expensive.

At Tor Hoerman Law, we understand the pain and suffering in dealing with a brain or head injury in sport.

If you have suffered a sports-related head injury, our team of sports head injury lawyers will work with you to help you understand the legal system and receive the compensation and relief you deserve.

We are happy to discuss your potential sports brain injury lawsuit for free and with no obligation.

Attorneys at THL work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that if you do not gain compensation for your injuries, we foot the bill.

Contact us today to learn more about how a sports head injury lawyer can help you.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 May 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-traumatic-encephalopathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20370921.

Levy, ML, et al. “Concussions in Soccer: A Current Understanding.” World Neurosurgery, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2012, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22120567/.

Mandelbaum, Bert. “Head Injuries in Soccer”. 1 Apr. 2019, https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-09-01/why-are-sports-linked-concussions-rising-among-girls.

McLaughlin, Chris. “Has a Ban on Heading the Ball Affected Soccer in the US?BBC News, BBC, 25 Feb. 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-51618401.

Mooney, James, et al. “Concussion in Soccer: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature.” Concussion (London, England), Future Medicine Ltd, 1 July 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7506470/.

Sanderson, Katharine. “Head-Injury Risk Higher for Female Soccer Players, Massive Survey Finds.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 30 Apr. 2021, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01184-8.

Senthilingam, Meera, and Nadia Kounang. “CTE Found in Former Soccer Players, Study Shows.” CNN, Cable News Network, 15 Feb. 2017, https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/health/brain-damage-dementia-cte-soccer-football-study/index.html.

Storelli, Claudio. “10 Tips to Prevent and Treat Soccer-Related Knee Injuries.” Storelli, Storelli, 15 Dec. 2020, https://storelli.com/blogs/the-storelli-blog/history-of-soccer-protective-headgear.

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