3 Types of Contact a Soccer Headguard May Protect Against

Jan 11, 2023

The pitch can be unforgiving. Ask anyone who’s suffered a concussion or some other form of brain injury. But even in the face of brain injury risks, it doesn’t mean soccer players are completely defenseless. A soccer concussion headguard may protect against various impact sources (and forces), especially for players with a higher risk of sustaining them.  

Soccer headguards for player-to-player contact 

During that incredible (and unforgettable) FIFA World Cup 2022 Final, France’s Adrien Rabiot suffered a rear-head collision with Argentina’s Julian Alvarez. There was an aerial challenge for the ball between the two. They collided and Rabiot left the field, massaging his head. Head manager, Didier Deschamps, substituted Rabiot, making it the first extra substitution due to a suspected concussion in World Cup history.

These kinds of hits, where players bash heads to win an aerial challenge, are the number one cause of brain injuries in soccer.  One study found that head-to-head collisions account for 68.8 percent of boys and 51.3 percent of girls’ concussions at the high school level. 

Reducing the severity of head-to-head hits in soccer

Improving neck strength and visual awareness can reduce injury and severity of hits. But soccer headgear can offer protection against head-to-head hits as well. For example, our Storelli ExoShield guard contains military-grade material used in helmets worn by the U.S. Army, Navy and Marines. These materials reduce the g-forces the head sustains during an impact. 

Soccer headguards for player-to-ball contact

The topic of soccer headers and the safety of headers have made more rounds in the news lately. For starters, new research has emerged showing that repeated heading of the ball leads to biological changes, ranging from elevated neurodegenerative proteins and brain alterations. 

A new injury related to soccer headers has come to light—subconcussive head injuries—a form of injury not easily noticeable but a possible cause of CTE. More concerningly and tragically, soccer legends, such as Jeff Astle, who died relatively young were found to have severe brain disease that more than likely caused their early deaths. 

We’re not suggesting headers are completely dangerous. It’s a crucial skill all players should develop, and, with proper technique, they can master the header without getting injured. But the risk of injury persists. 

Soccer headgear can reduce player-to-ball contact trauma

At the youth level, a flying soccer ball can reach an average speed of 40 mph (64 km/h) and 70 mph (112 km/h) at the professional level. In terms of force, the brain may sustain between 15 and 25 g forces when heading the ball. 

In a lab study, our ExoShield demonstrated an ability to reduce impact forces by up to 84 percent, and
g forces by 50 percent, when heading the ball. It won’t completely eliminate concussion risk, but this soccer headgear can significantly reduce it. Wearing headgear is essentially better than not wearing anything at all. 

Player-to-ground contact

We all know soccer is a game where players frequently hit the ground. You’ve got legitimate tackles and slides, and then the eye-rolling falls and dives made famous by certain players we won’t mention. Usually, these falls result in leg injuries, but on rare occasions, players can land on their heads.

Not much research has been published regarding the effects of player-to-ground hits, but any serious footballer knows hitting a hard surface head-first isn’t pretty. Any fall to the ground poses a risk of bruising the head or straining the neck. Naturally, that could lead to a concussion. 

Soccer headgear may offer protection in player-to-ground contact

Assuming that player-to-ground contact yields similar impact forces to headers and collisions (with other players), soccer headgear may also offer some protection against head injuries. It cushions the force generated upon impact due to its shock-absorbing material and there’s less of it traveling to the head.  

Can the beautiful game be contactless?

No. Soccer will always pose a risk of injuries, including those affecting the head. But soccer headgear, along with other training, can make contact with players, the ball, and the ground a heck of a lot safer. 

We recommend players with an increased risk of sustaining head injuries wear soccer concussion headgear. That includes young players, female players and those who have previously suffered concussions. It might not eliminate brain injuries altogether, but it can make head impacts less damaging when they occur. 

Are you looking for head protection in soccer? Get our ExoShield concussion headguard to reduce your risk of a soccer concussion. 

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