Concussion in soccer: a comprehensive review of the literature

Concussion. 2020 Jul 1;5(3):CNC76. doi: 10.2217/cnc-2020-0004.


Sports-related concussion has been examined extensively in collision sports such as football and hockey. However, historically, lower-risk contact sports such as soccer have only more recently garnered increased attention. Here, we review articles examining the epidemiology, injury mechanisms, sex differences, as well as the neurochemical, neurostructural and neurocognitive changes associated with soccer-related concussion. From 436 titles and abstracts, 121 full texts were reviewed with a total of 64 articles identified for inclusion. Concussion rates are higher during competitions and in female athletes with purposeful heading rarely resulting in concussion. Given a lack of high-level studies examining sports-related concussion in soccer, clinicians and scientists must focus research efforts on large-scale data gathering and development of improved technologies to better detect and understand concussion.

Keywords: football; repetitive subconcussive head impact; soccer; sport injuries; sport-related concussion; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Review