Using high-resolution MRI brain scans, researchers found evidence of reduced gray matter in the brains of 10 male college soccer players, compared with 10 young men who had never played the sport.
Gray matter refers to the brain tissue that controls thinking and memory. The significance of the relatively smaller gray matter volume and density seen in these players is not yet clear, the researchers say.
This may be due to repeated knocks on the front of the head called “heading”. More research is needed to flesh out the potential long-term brain injury risks associated with soccer.
The brief report can be found in: Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 17(4):304-306, July 2007.
Title: Evidence of Anterior Temporal Atrophy in College-Level Soccer Players.