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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents a significant burden on individuals, societies, and healthcare systems as it is associated with long-term neurological and behavioral consequences. Although these effects vary according to severity, events that lead to TBI and mild TBI (mTBI), such as concussions, subconcussive impacts, and non-impact violent head movements, may also lead to similar changes. Soccer players are particularly prone to mTBI as they are exposed to head impacts in various ways during training and gameplay. A commonly-claimed TBI risk is that posed by the "heading" technique. Our examination of the literature questions the extent to which heading actually is a risk for TBI and mTBI vs other sources of head impact in soccer. Although headgear may protect against some impacts, it has not been widely adopted due to limited efficacy, practical limitations and potential changes to the heading technique. Nevertheless, accurate assessment of head impacts and other movements that may lead to TBI in soccer would be valuable to players, coaches, athletic and medical personnel. A potential method for accurately detecting head acceleration – a crucial element of most head injuries – is measurements through accelerometers. Here, we survey the different types of accelerometers and recent findings on their accuracy and feasibility among soccer players and offer suggestions for long-term research with these tools.


This is an open access article under the CC BY license