Playing soccer increases serum concentrations of the biochemical markers of brain damage S-100B and neuron-specific enolase in elite players: a pilot study

Brain Inj. 2004 Sep;18(9):899-909. doi: 10.1080/02699050410001671865.


Primary objective: To analyse serum concentrations of two biochemical markers of brain tissue damage, S-100B and NSE (neurone-specific enolase), in male soccer players in connection to the game.

Methods: Blood samples were taken in players before and after a competitive game and the numbers of headers and of trauma events during soccer play were assessed.

Results: Both S-100B and NSE were significantly raised in serum samples obtained after the game in comparison with the pre-game values (S-100B: 0.118 +/- 0.040 microg L(-1) vs 0.066 +/- 0.025 microg L(-1), p < 0.001; NSE: 10.29 +/- 2.16 microg L(-1) vs 8.57 +/- 2.31 microg L(-1), p < 0.001). Only changes in S-100B concentrations (post-game minus pre-game values) were statistically significantly correlated to the number of headers (r = 0.428, p = 0.02) and to the number of other trauma events (r = 0.453, p = 0.02).

Conclusion: Playing competitive elite soccer was found to cause increase in serum concentrations of S-100B and NSE. Increases in S-100B were significantly correlated to the number of headers, and heading may accordingly have contributed to these increases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain Concussion / blood
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / blood
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / blood*
  • Pilot Projects
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100 Proteins / blood*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Soccer* / injuries


  • Biomarkers
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100 Proteins
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase