The following letter has nothing to do with growth per se, but it does have to do with what was a fast growing sport for boys and girls. Brent Thompson wrote it after returning from the UK in 1999. While there he read an article about a study of the brain waves of boxers and professional football (soccer) players. The wave patterns were similar. Ashland resident Bill Greenstein who had daughters playing soccer was also concerned. One solution still seems to be some form of forehead padding similar to what wrestlers or rugby scrum players wear.

Editor Local Newspaper

Dear Editor,

          Bill Greenstein’s column about heading the ball in soccer raises the point that, according to researchers, some who played years of soccer have brain wave patterns in later life much like those of boxers.  Other researchers learned that some ex soccer players have impaired motor functioning in later years. This would indicate that there can be cumulative damage from the countless blows to the head from the soccer ball.

          I agree with Bill’s concerns and would suggest a ban on heading the ball at least through junior high school.  For high school, college, club, and professional levels some kind of abbreviated helmet mostly for the forehead might provide adequate cushioning from the impact of the ball.

          The findings don’t surprise me because in playing intercollegiate soccer I never felt that hitting the ball as hard as I could with my head was healthy. Thus, I tried to become good at “chest trapping”.  

Brent Thompson