Angus Hunter

Heading a soccer ball seems to release the inhibitory brain chemical GABA. Image courtesy the author

Heading a football/soccer ball may look effortless but many scientists have suspected it might actually harm the player’s brain. There could be real consequences—we know that brain injury is linked to an increased risk of dementia, for example. However, it has proven surprisingly difficult to find out the true impact of soccer ball heading, partly because mild brain injury is notoriously difficult to detect.

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