The Efficacy of Soccer Headgear

J Athl Train. 2003 Sep;38(3):220-224.


OBJECTIVE: The potential for risks associated with chronic soccer heading has led some soccer leagues to mandate the use of soccer headgear. Although manufacturers have designed and promoted these headbands to decrease the forces associated with heading a soccer ball, their efficacy has not been tested. Therefore, we investigated the efficacy of 3 brands of soccer headgear: Headers, Headblast, and Protector, as compared with a non-headband condition. DESIGN AND SETTING: A force platform was mounted vertically with each headband attached with a length of hook-and-loop tape. A JUGS Soccer Machine projected balls at the platform and headband at 56.45 kph (35 mph). MEASUREMENTS: We measured vertical ground reaction force for 50 trials of each condition and calculated peak force, time to peak force, and impulse. RESULTS: We found a significant reduction in peak force of impact with all 3 headbands. The Protector headband also showed the greatest decrease in time to peak force and impulse, whereas the Headers headband showed a significant increase in impulse. CONCLUSIONS: All 3 headbands were effective at reducing the peak impact force. The Protector headband appeared the most effective at reducing time to peak force and impulse within the design of this study. The clinical effectiveness of these products remains to be seen.