The goal of this research is to evaluate the extent of damage to the brain in regard to concussions when female soccer players head the ball to pass, defend, and score goals. It is reported that female soccer players have higher concussion rates than male players, which is why they will be the focus of this study. The anatomy of the female body seems to be structured in a way that increases the risk of concussions, but that has not been verified yet.
While many clinical studies document post-concussion results, our research evaluates the impact of the soccer ball during active play both computationally and experimentally. The force from the ball hitting the head and the resulting acceleration of the brain are analyzed. First, the head accelerations and corresponding HIC (Head Injury Criterion) values are obtained using computational programming. Then, a newly developed experimental framework is used to track the head acceleration using an accelerometer. The velocity and angle at which the ball makes contact with the head are measured using a projectile motion and time-lapse imaging technique. The results of heading the ball in different kick scenarios are compared with the threshold HIC values for concussions.