To define forces of youth soccer ball heading (headers) and determine whether heading causes retinal hemorrhage.
Regional Children's Hospital, youth soccer camp.
Male and female soccer players, 13 to 16 years old, who regularly head soccer balls.
Dilated retinal examination, after 2-week header diary, and accelerometer measurement of heading a lofted soccer ball.
Twenty-one youth soccer players, averaging 79 headers in the prior 2 weeks, and 3 players who did not submit header diaries lacked retinal hemorrhage. Thirty control subjects also lacked retinal hemorrhage. Seven subjects heading the ball experienced linear cranial accelerations of 3.7 ± 1.3g. Rotational accelerations were negligible.
Headers, not associated with globe impact, are unlikely to cause retinal hemorrhage. Correctly executed headers did not cause significant rotational acceleration of the head, but incorrectly executed headers might.