A small study found that soccer players on average have changes to the white matter of their brain.
Changes to the white matter are bad because they're the nerves that connect different regions of the brain and affect cognition.
Eventually, knocking your head against a ball flying at you, while not enough to cause a concussion, does cause enough damage that over time, can lead to traumatic brain injury!
That's pretty scary!
As far as professional sports go, soccer is pretty contact but without a lot of pads.
A researcher in the study said:
"Although our study is small, it is the first to look at soccer players with no symptoms and no diagnoses of concussions. We think it is an important finding not just for soccer players, but other athletes of other sports too."
Brain injuries in sports is becoming more of a hot topic these days.
We wouldn't be surprised if in the not too distant future we saw soccer stars wearing helmets!
Wanna look "cool" or have a functioning brain when you retire? Your call. LOLz!
[Image via AP Images.]