explore the scope of the scientific evidence regarding repetitive head injury in players,
assess the special considerations for such injuries for youths by reviewing the role of development on vulnerability, and
to identify the policy issues relevant to head injuries in youth sports.
Some of the findings presented by the speakers raised concerns, such as the high concussion rate of high school soccer players, the frequent persistence of impaired brain functions even after other symptoms of a concussion disappear, and the need for a better understanding of when it is safe for players to resume playing after they have had a concussion. But other findings were reassuring, such as studies that suggest that with the type of soccer balls used in the United States, heading is not likely to cause brain injury in youths, nor is playing soccer likely to cause permanent brain damage.
This is a summary of the reports from these experts in the field, and the lively discussions that followed them. Topics covered include: causes of head injuries in soccer; how to detect a concussion; the biology of concussion; studies of soccer and football players; the role of protective headgear; and policy implications, such as how to decide when a concussed player should be allowed to return to the playing field.