There’s a risk of injury in any sport, but protective equipment can reduce that risk significantly
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. In the United States, it’s widely considered a safer alternative to other contact sports like football but don't let that fool you. Soccer players still have one of the highest head injury rates in sports: one study indicated that more than 60 percent of soccer players reported concussion symptoms annually. Concussion rates for girls' soccer rival those in boys’ football.
During various studies, the data does show is that girls who play high school soccer are at a significant risk for concussions. A 2012 study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that women’s soccer had the second highest rate of concussions among high school athletes, behind only football. That same study also found that girls had a higher concussion rate than boys.
During one study, embedded sensors measured linear and rotational acceleration; when they had two dummy heads slammed together. those values were used to calculate a STAR value, which represents how much the equipment reduced a player’s risk of concussion for a given impact. The highest-scoring headband, Storelli’s ExoShield, which earned five stars, reduced injury risk by 84 percent for the impacts tested.
“Just how much that half-inch of foam can do to protect your head during collisions is really remarkable,” Tyson said.
“There’s a risk of injury in any sport, but protective equipment can reduce that risk significantly,” said Steve Rowson, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics and the lab’s director. “Our job is to get independent, evidence-based information out there to players, coaches, and parents, so that they can choose the equipment that’s most effective. More people play soccer than any other sport, so we’re thrilled to have these ratings out.”