Malcolm Gladwell Article from NY'er - Could this be a boost for US soccer in years ahead?

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by ChrisSSBB, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. ChrisSSBB

    ChrisSSBB Member+

    Jun 22, 2005
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The following article by Gladwell in recent issue of New Yorker compares American football with dogfighting. The most intriguing part of the article is gathering of data measuring g-forces to players' helmets/heads. Data and subsuquent brain studies indicates that it isn't so much how many concussions a player has as a predictor of future brain damage/dementia, but the cumulative hits. In other words, Mama, don't let your son grow up to be an offensive lineman.

    Is it possible that the health risks of American football will lead to even more players turning to soccer in the future including those athletes that are often discussed as potential difference makers for the US? It certainly isn't something that will change overnight as we American's love our warriors (this is where the dogfighting comparison comes in).

    I have gained a greater appreciation for the sanity of rugby and how the rules and playing without helmets protect players from the kind of cumulative and acute injuries experienced in American football.
  2. jerseydan

    jerseydan New Member

    Jun 5, 2005
    A few years back studies showed soccer players later developed higher rates of Parkinson's, especially defenders, who head the ball a lot. Docs recommended head gear. An Italian study, i think.
  3. arswift

    arswift New Member

    Feb 21, 2008
    Omaha, NE
    Fulham FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That Italian study was more focused on chemicals in the grass in Italy, as it was mostly retired Italian pros. Not heading the ball.
  4. CCowden

    CCowden Member

    Jun 30, 2009
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Can someone cite this article? I'm assuming it was a peer-reviewed publication?
  5. jerseydan

    jerseydan New Member

    Jun 5, 2005
    Must be a different study; the one I read about specifically mentioned defenders heading the ball, but it was a long time ago and I'll leave it to others to look into it. Interesting about the chemicals; my dad had Parkinson's and had been exposed to massive amounts of DDT during WW2.
  6. lacrolix

    lacrolix Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Probably from frequent upclose exposure of the grass from all that diving they do. :)
  7. Mullet&Talon

    Mullet&Talon New Member

    Jul 20, 2007
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Somehow I don't think the readership of the New Yorker will impact who plays Pop Warner. Maybe if the article were in USA Today or SI.
  8. TOTC

    TOTC Member

    Feb 20, 2001
    Laurel, MD, USA
    I watch the Toyota commercial about the mother putting football pads and eyewear and a helmet on a kid before sending him out to play -- tennis. The announcer said, "We understand. You can't be too careful."

    This being such a litigious, overprotective, helicopter-parent society, it's going to come to a point where football is going to be banned. Boxing (much less MMA) ain't too far behind.
  9. kjksccr

    kjksccr Member

    Feb 25, 1999
    San Carlos, CA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The problem in football is the equipment allows them to hit so hard. The impact has to go somewhere. And this isn't about litigation but about high school football players dying and retired NFL players getting dementia at 55.

    I saw a fascinating special on the development of motor racing safety (particularly the Hans device) and it detailed the forces created when a car hits a wall at 165mph and how they disperse. The forces were on the order of 50g's. Advances in safety have resulted in drivers walking away from crashes like this:


    They padding in helmets does not yet provide any real shock absorbing which is...shocking.

    BTW, Charlies Davies never had the physique to play college or pro football. Spain isn't full of world class sprinters and the teams that have those guys don't necessarily win. Sure a bigger pool would help but it wouldn't be solve all of our problems--in fact I would fear even less technical players if we relied on players like Wynn.
  10. gmonn

    gmonn Member+

    Dec 8, 2005
    "Methods: Fifty-three active professional soccer players from several professional Dutch soccer clubs were compared with a control group of 27 elite noncontact sport athletes. All participants underwent neuropsychological examination.


    Conclusion: Participation in professional soccer may affect adversely some aspects of cognitive functioning (i.e., memory, planning, and visuoperceptual processing). "
  11. arkjayback

    arkjayback Member

    Mar 29, 2008
    Le Mars, IA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I can see it getting there though.

    If this had been the first time I had heard about this, I wouldn't think much of it, but this study has been brought up (that I've known about) a handful of times over the last week or so.

    Its gonna linger and its going to affect some decisions. Is it going to shift kids from football to futbol? I doubt it, but this is going to have some type of impact.

Share This Page