, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 1567–1578 | Cite as

Analytical modelling of soccer heading



Heading occur frequently in soccer games and studies have shown that repetitive heading of the soccer ball could result in degeneration of brain cells and lead to mild traumatic brain injury. This study proposes a two degree-of-freedom linear mathematical model to study the impact of the soccer ball on the brain. The model consists of a mass–spring–damper system, in which the skull, the brain and the soccer ball are modelled as a mass and the neck modelled as a spring–damper system. The proposed model was compared with previous dynamic model for soccer ball-to-head impact. Moreover, it was also validated against drop ball experiment on an instrumented dummy skull and also compared with head acceleration data from previous studies. Comparison shows that our proposed model is capable of describing both the skull and brain accelerations qualitatively and quantitatively. This study shows that a simple linear mathematical model can be useful in giving a preliminary insight on the kinematics of human skull and brain during a ball-to-head impact. The model can be used to investigate the important parameters during soccer heading that affect the brain displacement and acceleration, thus providing better understanding of the mechanics behind it.


Soccer heading head impact brain injury mathematical model 


  1. Baghaei S M, Sadegh A M and Rajaai S M 2009 A mathematical head/brain model for investigation of damping characteristics of SAS in low velocity head impacts. In: 25th Southern biomedical engineering conference 2009, 15–17 May 2009. Miami, Florida, USAGoogle Scholar
  2. Bayly P V, Naunheim R, Standeven J, Neubauer J S, Lewis L and Genin G M 2002 Linear and angular accelerations of the human head during heading of a soccer ball. In: Engineering in Medicine and Biology, 2002. 24th annual conference and the annual fall meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society EMBS/BMES conference, 2002. Proceedings of the second joint 3: 2577–2578 vol. 3. doi:  10.1109/IEMBS.2002.1053434
  3. Delaney J S, Lacroix V J, Leclerc Suzanne and Johnston K M 2002 Concussions among university football and soccer players. Clin. J. Sport Med. 12: 331–338Google Scholar
  4. Dirisala V, Karami G and Ziejewski M 2012 Effects of neck damping properties on brain response under impact loading. Int. J. Numer. Methods Biomed. Eng. 472–494 doi:  10.1002/cnm
  5. Hibbeler R C 2009 Engineering mechanics: Dynamics in SI units pack. Prentice HallGoogle Scholar
  6. Koerte I K and Ertl-Wagner B 2012 White matter integrity in the brains of professional soccer players without a symptomatic concussion. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 308: 2006–2008Google Scholar
  7. Levy Michael L, Aimen S Kasasbeh, Lissa Catherine Baird, Chiazo Amene, Jeff Skeen and Larry Marshall 2012 Concussions in soccer: A current understanding. World Neurosurg. 78: 535–44 doi:  10.1016/j.wneu.2011.10.032
  8. Lipton M L, Kim N and Zimmerman M E 2013 Soccer heading is associated with white matter microstructural and cognitive abnormalities. Radiology 268: 850–857Google Scholar
  9. Matser E J T, Kessels A G, Lezak M D, Jordan B D and Jaap Troost 1999 Neuropsychological impairment in amateur soccer players. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 282: 971–973Google Scholar
  10. Matser J T, Kessels A G, LezakMD and Troost J 2001 A dose-response relation of headers and concussions with cognitive impairment in professional soccer players. J. Clin. Exper. Neuropsychol. 23: 770–4 doi:  10.1076/jcen.23.6.770.1029
  11. McCrory P R 2003 Brain injury and heading in soccer. Br. Med. J. 327(7411): 351–352Google Scholar
  12. Nagurka Mark and Shuguang Huang 2006 A mass–spring–damper model of a bouncing ball. Int. J. Eng. Educ. 22: 9Google Scholar
  13. Naunheim Rosanne S, Philip V Bayly, John Standeven, Jeremy S Neubauer, Larry M Lewis and Guy M Genin 2003a Linear and angular head accelerations during heading of a soccer ball. Med. Sci. Sports Exer. 35: 1406–1412 doi:  10.1249/01.MSS.0000078933.84527.AE
  14. Naunheim Rosanne S, Amanda Ryden, John Standeven, Guy Genin, Larry Lewis, Paul Thompson and Phil Bayly 2003b Does soccer headgear attenuate the impact when heading a soccer ball? Acad. Emerg. Med.: Official J. Soc. Acad. Emerg. Med. 10: 85–90Google Scholar
  15. Riches Philip E 2006 A dynamic model of the head acceleration associated with heading a soccer ball. Sports Eng. 9: 39–47 doi:  10.1007/BF02844261
  16. Shewchenko N, Withnall C, Keown M, Gittens R and Dvorak J 2005 Heading in football. Part 2: Biomechanics of ball heading and head response. Br. J. Sports Med. 39 (Suppl 1): i26—32 doi:  10.1136/bjsm.2005.019042
  17. Spiotta Alejandro M, Adam J Bartsch and Edward C Benzel 2012 Heading in soccer: Dangerous play? Neurosurgery 70: 1–11Google Scholar
  18. Tierney Ryan T, Michael Higgins, Shane V Caswell, Jessica Brady, Krista McHardy, Jeffrey B Driban and Kurosh Darvish 2008 Sex differences in head acceleration during heading while wearing soccer headgear. J. Athletic Training 43: 578–84 doi:  10.4085/1062-6050-43.6.578
  19. Tysvaer A T and Løchen E A 1991 Soccer injuries to the brain: A neuropsychologic study of former soccer players. Am. J. Sports Med. 19: 56–60Google Scholar
  20. Webbe Frank M and Shelley R Ochs 2003 Recency and frequency of soccer heading interact to decrease neurocognitive performance. Appl. Neuropsychol. 10: 31–41 doi:  10.1207/S15324826AN1001_5
  21. Withnall C, Shewchenko N, Wonnacott M and Dvorak J 2005 Effectiveness of headgear in football. Br. J. Sports Med. 39 (Suppl 1): i40–i48; discussion i48 doi:  10.1136/bjsm.2005.019174
  22. Witol Adrienne D and Frank M Webbe 2003 Soccer heading frequency predicts neuropsychological deficits. Arch. Clin. Neuropsychol.: Official J. Natl. Acad. Neuropsychol. 18: 397–417Google Scholar
  23. Zhang Marsha R, Stuart D Red, Angela H Lin, Saumil S Patel and Anne B Sereno 2013 Evidence of cognitive dysfunction after soccer playing with ball heading using a novel tablet-based approach. PloS one 8: e57364 doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0057364

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

    • 1
    • 1
    Email author
    • 2
  1. 1.Innovative Manufacturing, Mechatronics & Sports Laboratory (iMAMS), Faculty of Manufacturing EngineeringUniversiti Malaysia PahangPekanMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Syiah KualaBanda AcehIndonesia

Personalised recommendations