Hey parents! Got a striker, midfielder, defender or keeper in your family? Do you know what hand ball, offside, corner and bicycle kick mean? Do you follow developments in goal line technology? Have you been heard to shout “All ball!” or “Advantage!” at the referee?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, I’m guessing you’re a soccer mom or dad, or a soccer player yourself! You may know about injuries such as torn ligaments and pulled hamstrings. But whether your athlete is a newbie or dreams of making it to the World Cup one day, you should also add traumatic brain injury (TBI) to your vocabulary.
As soccer gains popularity in the United States and awareness of TBI grows, more eyes are on this potentially serious injury. Mild TBI, also known as concussion, is especially common among girls. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, “females participating in high school sports now have a higher incidence rate of sport-related concussions than do males.”
A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. It can cause loss of consciousness for a brief or extended period of time, or make one feel confused or “see stars.” The injury can be mild, moderate, severe or penetrating, but most TBIs are concussions. Traumatic brain injury symptoms can be physical (headaches, dizziness), cognitive (problems with memory or concentration) or emotional (irritability or mood swings).