Study by Wheeling Jesuit Researchers Shows ‘Heading’ a Soccer Ball Impacts Sense of Smell

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Soccer has become one of the most popular sports for teenagers and young children, but researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University recently released some surprising and disturbing data involving the sport

Senior psychology major Emily Robinson and Dr. Bryan Raudenbush conducted a study, which shows that “heading” a soccer ball has a negative effect on a players sense of smell. They examined seventy high school soccer players and had them complete a brief survey. Players then asked to take a smell identification test. Players who headed the ball more frequently had a harder time identifying scents correctly.   

“I was a little shocked that 15 to 18 year-olds are having difficulty identifying scents just from heading the soccer ball, just because that is part of the game,” Robinson said. “So I didn’t realize it was effecting as many young players as it was.”

They study also revealed that males who headed the ball more frequently performed significantly worse than females.

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