Soccer and the Risk of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

Two leading women’s professional soccer players (retired), Brandi Chastain and Michelle Akers, recently spoke to the media about brain injuries caused by playing soccer.  Until now, CTE most notably associated with playing football, due to the deaths of several high-profile players who suffered from CTE.  Regardless of which sports, CTE is caused by repeated blows to head that have not been promptly and properly treated. Over time, these head injuries can present a plethora of adverse symptoms, including forgetfulness, depression, anger, and the inability to think clearly. It is very important for all athletes know they have the potential for CTE if their head injuries are not treated promptly.

Heading the Ball

It’s common for soccer players of all levels to “head the ball” or bounce it off of their heads in an attempt to change its trajectory. The problem lies in the fact that this action is actually very bad for the brain. According to Akers, she would perform this action up to 50 times in a single game, not realizing that each time, she was literally bouncing her brain in her skull, bruising it. Now, she suffers from some of the early symptoms of CTE, which include migraine headaches, memory lapses, and mood swings.

Symptoms Won’t Show Until Later

One of the issues with CTE is the fact that many of the symptoms associated with repeat head trauma appear later in life. After a head injury, an athlete may present with all of the classic signs of a concussion. Once the concussion heals, the brain appears to be fine. The same scenario occurs with every subsequent head injury but the effects to the brain are compounded.  It is not until the player ages that they realize they have CTE symptoms. Recurrent headaches, memory loss, anxiety, depressions, mood swings and more. All of these symptoms present long after they’ve stopped playing their sport.

In most cases, the public only hears about CTE in professional athletes after their deaths. The reason is CTE can only be identified at the time of autopsy.   Since Akers and Chastain are making their cases early on and allowing themselves to be tested in order to monitor the early signs and later progression of CTE, scientists will be able to learn more about this horrible condition.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from CTE due to recurrent head injuries, call me today and I’ll Make Them Pay!®


Catastrophic Injuries