Int J Sports Med 2004; 25(5): 326-331
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-819941
Physiology & Biochemistry

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Effect of an Acute Bout of Soccer Heading on Postural Control and Self-Reported Concussion Symptoms

D. M. Schmitt1 , J. Hertel1 , T. A. Evans1 , L. C. Olmsted1 , M. Putukian1
  • 1Pennsylvania State University, USA
Further Information

Publication History

Accepted after revision: July 20, 2003

Publication Date:
18 May 2004 (online)


Our purpose was to determine if an acute bout of heading soccer balls adversely affected postural control and self-reported symptoms of cerebral concussion. Thirty-one college-aged soccer players were randomly placed into either a kicking group or a heading group. Subjects either kicked or headed 18 soccer balls over the course of 40 minutes. Subjects had their postural control assessed while standing on a force plate and completed a concussion symptoms checklist on three separate occasions: prior to, immediately following, and 24 hours after kicking or heading. There were no significant differences between the heading and kicking groups on the postural control measures prior to, immediately following, and 24 hours after kicking/heading. The heading group did, however, report significantly more concussion symptoms than the kicking group immediately after heading, but not 24 hours after heading. The number of previous concussions sustained by subjects did not influence the effects of heading. An acute bout of soccer heading appears to cause an increase in self-reported symptoms of cerebral concussion lasting less than 24 hours but no quantifiable deficits in postural control. Further research is needed to investigate the cumulative effects of soccer heading on postural control and other objective measures of brain function.


J. Hertel, PhD, ATC

Penn State University · Athletic Training Research Laboratory

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