Goalies suffer a disproportionate number of injuries compared to those playing other positions. The American Journal of Sports Medicine reported in 1995 that, even though goalies comprise only six percent of soccer players, they suffer nineteen percent of all soccer injuries. When a player collides with the post of a heavy, stationary goal post, the player absorbs all of the impact of the collision.
Teenage soccer players who wear protective headgear suffer nearly half as many concussions as those who play without helmets, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Canada's McGill University.
Because the most-commonly used return-to-play guidelines recommend that an athlete who has suffered multiple concussions be held out of sports for increasingly longer periods of time, up to and including the rest of the season, preventing another concussion may be the difference in the athlete being able to continue playing that season or having to shut his season down.
Two new studies suggest that heading in soccer may result in weaker mental performance, including a decline in cognitive function, difficulty in verbal learning, planning and maintaining attention and reduced information processing speed. The short term study found that recent heading by players who headed with "moderate-to-high frequency" led in some cases to weaker neurocognitive performance. The long-term effects are less clear. One study found that lifetime heading had "no significant or strong effect... on neuropsychological performance." But the other reached a different conclusion, noting "players with the highest lifetime estimates of heading had poorer scores on scales measuring attention, concentration, cognitive flexibility and general intellectual functioning."
Since 1999 several studies have suggested that repeated heading of a soccer ball may result in the short term in weaker mental performance. The long term effects of repeated heading are less clear. "Until further studies clarify the risks, there should be a yellow warning signal going out, say experts, who suggest in the meantime a number of safety precautions.