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TELL US: Should Soccer Players Wear Protective Headgear?

A new state law may allow youth and high school soccer players to wear protective padded headbands during games.

If you're a fan of professional football, you've probably noticed an increased concern regarding concussions and the longterm affects they can have on athletes.

And while the recent campaign to prevent concussions may be most visible during a New England Patriots game, the push to prevent concussions among youth soccer players is creating a buzz among sports organizations across the Commonwealth.

In the coming weeks, state lawmakers will vote on a bill, being forwarded by the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, that would allow youth and high school soccer players to wear protective headbands during games.

The light-weight padded headbands are meant to protect the top of a player's head from high-speed impacts and wearing them wouldn't be made mandatory if the bill is passed. 

Opponents to similar bills have argued that the headbands haven't been proven to prevent concussions and fear that they may give players who choose to wear them an unfair advantage.

So, before it comes to a vote, we want to know: where do you stand on the issue?

Would you welcome protective headgear to local soccer fields if it meant fewer concussions? Do you think soccer players should stick to shin-guards and mouth-guards?

Let us know in the comments section below.

RWSshs66pu70 October 19, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Both of my kids played youth and high school soccer, with one playing in college and after. My family spent a few post-games in hospital ERs due to concussions. When I observe the implementation of mandatory and technologically improved headgear in professional baseball, football and hockey, and watch presentations on the much greater vulnerability of children and adolescents to head injuries due solely to developmental exposures, I don't see why the use of protective headgear for soccer players shouldn't be mandatory. If the issue is lack of proven technology, then let's get it done NOW to avoid lifetimes of suffering, premature brain dysfunction and even deaths.
bill m October 19, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Soccer is not a contact sport...so I do not believe it should be mandatory. But, if a kid feels safer wearing a helmet on a soccer field then let them.
Restless October 19, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Soccer has become a contact sport. Blatant elbowing and tripping is allowed and with the state of our fields right now bad falls are pretty frequent.
Terraformer October 19, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Where is my protective bubble so that I can be saved from life's travails? Dang nabbit, when will the government protect me from myself once and for all... > In the coming weeks, state lawmakers will vote on a bill, being forwarded by the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, that would allow youth and high school soccer players to wear protective headbands during games. I don't even need to read the law to know this sentence is utterly devoid of any fact. There is nothing in MA law that dictates the rules by which soccer shall be played. No, what this law is likely doing is legislating a market of people forced to buy these things from a patent holding manufacturer or subsidizing the manufacturing of these devices to be sold below cost or given to a market that refuses to buy them otherwise. My only question to people who think this is such a grand idea is this: Do you have any independent knowledge about the true risks of brain injuries from playing soccer or are you just listening to the news parrot the words of a self interested third party without doing any sort of due diligence before repeating those words?
Terraformer October 19, 2012 at 10:33 PM
PS: Those who are experts on brain injuries in the NFL have actually stated that the increase in padding is actually what is causing what concussions in NFL players. They can hit each other so hard now without getting hurt that their brains are literally bouncing off the sides of their skulls. Don't be surprised that within the next ten years, the NFL mandates padding that transfers more force to particular parts of the body such that it causes pain. This will cause players to be less brutal to each other. Same thing with hockey. Checks into the boards have become brutal with the advent of helmets and facemasks. Watch old video of 60s and 70s era hockey and compare it with today if you don't believe me.
Terraformer October 19, 2012 at 10:44 PM
I am even doing the work for you to see the difference between pre-helmet and post-helmet hockey. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akRPEyxF3Jg or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tmja-7i8nM v. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT-0UaS2Lc0 (note the presenter says "Not a cheap shot...") or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH86VHqMJYk or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU2Zt8kps-E
Dave Gray October 19, 2012 at 11:15 PM
It doesn't matter if you call soccer a contact sport or not. That's semantics. The fact is the contact does occur and from personal experience I can confirm that concussions are not unusual. Several years ago the MIAA made mouthguards mandatory. I don't know why the legislature needs to get involved here. If a parent wants a kid to wear a Full 90 or other device, they should be allowed to, but as of yet, there is no evidence they reduce the risk at all. http://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/06/04/12052348-girl-soccer-players-turn-to-head-gear-to-curb-concussions-but-does-it-work?lite
bill m October 19, 2012 at 11:22 PM
It is not semantics...it's the truth. There is possibility for contact in almost everything we do in life. Do you wear a helmet while driving? How about walking around the mall? C'mon now. We all know that there is MUCH more of a chance of getting a concussion playing football or hockey. If kids want to wear helmets while playing soccer then more power to them...but to mandate it is ridiculous. What's next, helmets while playing basketball and golf? How about swimming, you might hit your head on the diving board...and maybe tennis, those courts are very unforgiving... No matter how hard you try kids will always find a way to hurt themselves...we can't protect them from everything (nor should we!).
Terraformer October 19, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Dave, that article is gold. "Natasha Helmick spent six years playing soccer wearing a headband, believing the head gear would prolong her soccer career by preventing concussions. Helmick, 20, said that the headgear inflated her belief that she was safer on the field and she began to play more aggressively. “I had extra confidence, man, that extra boost of confidence. I was ready to go. I went out there and played so much harder,” Helmick told Kate Snow in an interview airing Thursday at 10pm/9 c on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams." The article goes on to state that Helmick had 5 concussions while wearing the headband.
Dave Gray October 19, 2012 at 11:45 PM
It absolutely is semantics. I doesn't matter a whit if a sport is labeled a contact sport or not if you have multiple concussion syndrome from playing that sport. If you get hit in the eye and blinded by a ping pong ball, does that make ping pong a contact sport? Getting caught up in some kind of classifier deflects attention from the real issue. I could care less what you call it.
Dave Gray October 20, 2012 at 12:23 AM
I have a lot of experience with this, since I have two daughters who played HS, club, and college soccer. Girls are much more likely to suffer concussions than boys, and are 2 to 8 times more likely to suffer knee injuries, especially ACL tears. IMHO, it's primarily a physiological issue - girls have weaker necks and knees, making them more prone to injury. I also suspect that since stats show boys suffer more facial injuries, it may indicate girls are more inclined to try to protect their faces, thereby putting their necks and heads in more compromising positions. A proper conditioning program designed specifically to address that makes more sense to me than headgear and knee braces. I could get into a long discussion about Q angles in females, but you'd be better served researching it yourself.
Michael October 20, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Why is it that it's only in America that we are asking kids to wear protective headgear? Let's wrap them in bubble wrap and allow them to play when the mosquito outdoor ban is lifted. Please, let's regain our liberty and allow our kids to have a childhood. This is all getting nonsensical.
Saber Walsh October 20, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Situation here looks pretty simple. People who know the sport are concerned about concussions and what to do to prevent them. We know concussions are no longer considered to be "just a thing that happened," but can cause severe, often life-long injury. We have the technology to protect kids who want to be protected. So the people who are concerned seem to be making sense here. So be it.
Tom Flannagan October 20, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Have you watched a soccer game lately.
Tom Flannagan October 20, 2012 at 02:26 AM
You realize that they use their heads in soccer, don't you?
Tom Flannagan October 20, 2012 at 02:29 AM
The law will "allow" them to use them, not "require" them.
Terraformer October 20, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Laws don't allow free citizens to do anything. Laws prohibit people from doing things or authorize public expenditures. Anything else is a feel good declaration.
Dave Gray October 20, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Tom, to whom are you addressing your remarks?
Reid Cassidy October 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM
I agree, they should be allowed but not mandatory. There is a lot of concussions but they do not all occur from head shots. As you see in football and hockey many concussions occur from solid body shots which jar the brain. I do feel this is being promoted by someone who invented or is marketing the helmets similar to bicycle helmets.
Jenny Norwood October 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Soccer is unique in that using your head is a part of the game. You can't make headgear optional, because then you'd have players at a big strategic advantage with the ability to use their heads. And, those who opt not to use headgear would be at a much higher risk for concussion not because they've opted not to use headgear, but because players with helmets are still going to challenge for the ball in the air. I'm confident if you actually looked at how concussions occur in soccer, headgear doesn't protect against much of it. After playing and coaching for 30 years, most of the head injuries I witnessed or experienced were due to collisions -- with players or goalposts. The whiplash that results, not the contact, is the problem. There are always risks of head injury when participating in any sport, we do the best we can to protect players but at some point you have to weigh the risks as a participant.
Tom Flannagan October 23, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Very good, and helpful, points.
Kathy October 25, 2012 at 03:49 PM
These are all interesting comments yet I am confused about the original article wanting to "allow" headgear..if it isn't "allowed" now, this is news to me since my daughter and several other teammates wear one while playing soccer-NOW without any legislation. What is this l"new law" actually trying to do?
Kathy October 25, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Hi Jenny, It looks like they are voting on wearing a padded headband (vs hard helmet). Agree with you if they are voting on optional "helmets"!
Ian Smith October 25, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Bill M I have to say I am surprised with your comment. Soccer is not a contact sport? Have you ever been to a game? Soccer is a full-contact sport at every level whether your child is 5 or 25 they are at risk on the field. I grew up playing soccer at the club, high school, college and semi-pro levels and I can assure you that it is a contact sport. I now have kids that play at competitive levels and concussions are becoming a real issue. I think back in the day we didn't know enough about it to care, but after all the studies that have taken place over recent years I think the headgear is probably a good thing. Why risk having your child getting a head injury if it can be prevented? This is a sport that doesn't require you to wear much protection, but that doesn't mean its not a contact sport. I have seen numerous injuries ranging from broken bone to concussions and even compound fractures in kids ranging in age from 7-23. Adding a little extra protection would be a good thing if its going to prevent or lessen the severity of an injury. Lets be realistic. Just because they are not wearing full body armor doesn't make it a non-contact sport. Soccer players are at a higher risk because of the fact that they wear less protection. I think adding this protective headband would be a good idea especially for the younger players who are less aware on the field and more likely to not protect themselves when going in for a tackle or a header. Safety is never a bad thing..
Ian Smith October 25, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Kathy I think they are trying to make it mandatory at a certain level for all kids. It will be interesting to see how it plays out...
Jeremy November 02, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Absolutely they should be required to wear protective padding on their heads. Soccer is a cut throat sport and is viscously brutal. I read in a book that soccer is the leading cause of death in teens behind tornadoes. For the players not to wear protective head gear is a suicide mission.
Brooklyn johnson January 29, 2013 at 08:39 PM
i think kids should have to wear the head gear they don't prevent concussions but they sure do help them not leave as bad as concussions!!!!!!! i wear on and i am sure thankful for it has helped me keep playing soccer because i have concussion that would have ended my soccer career but i had the headband that made it better
NaemhOisin January 30, 2013 at 10:21 AM
tornadoes? tornadoes !!! Maybe people who live in tornado prone areas should be required to wear govt mandated stuff !!!!

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