If you have kids and are worried about the health effects of wearing sports equipment at the same time, you’re not alone.
The world’s leading manufacturers of sports equipment have warned that the potential risks are greater than many of us realise.
“There’s no doubt that the health risks associated with the sport of football are well documented,” said Dr Caroline McWilliams, professor of preventive medicine at University College London and the co-author of a new report.
“For example, recent research by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that as many as a quarter of children who play sports have had serious injury or death associated with injuries sustained while playing.”‘
Very high’ risks Despite the dangers of wearing the wrong type of equipment, there is a growing body of research indicating that the risks are “very high”, she said.
“We’ve seen that there is actually a higher risk of death from playing football with a metal ball than from playing with a rubber ball.”
So even though we are talking about the risk of injury, we are also talking about potential deaths.
“The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, compared the risks of injury and death from football with those from soccer and rugby.”
In terms of the health and life-expectancy effects of exposure to a particular type of football, we have some very interesting findings,” she said, adding that the risk for death from exposure to metal balls was “much higher”.
The study included 6,700 participants, and involved more than 100,000 participants in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands.
Injuries and deaths related to football in the United States were most likely to be caused by head injuries, while serious injuries from other types of injuries were more likely to occur.
There were no significant differences in the rates of injuries or deaths from playing soccer with metal balls versus rubber balls, or between the risk factors for these injuries or death.
However, the researchers found that children who played soccer with a ball with a diameter of at least 16mm were more than twice as likely to die from a head injury as those who played with a smaller ball diameter of less than 14mm.
The study also found that the same risk factors that are associated with head injuries in soccer also lead to serious injury and/or death in other sports, including football.”
No reason to be scared’There was also some good news, however. “
I don’t think we can be too worried about these risks.”‘
No reason to be scared’There was also some good news, however.
Dr McWilliam said that while the risks associated in football with playing with the wrong ball diameter were “very, very high”, the overall risk of serious injury from playing is “not very high”.
“The risk associated with playing a metal football ball with more than 16mm diameter was less than one per cent,” she added.
The researchers suggest that the increased risk of developing serious injuries and death associated to playing with metal football balls is due to a number of factors.””
But if you look in older age groups, the risk associated is actually 1.5 per cent.”
The researchers suggest that the increased risk of developing serious injuries and death associated to playing with metal football balls is due to a number of factors.
“Many of the other risk factors associated with football exposure, like the use of excessive force and/ or poor technique in football play, also seem to be associated with high risk of risk of head injuries,” Dr McNamara said.”[There are] a number people who develop serious head injuries while playing football, but they have never had a head or neck injury from that.”
The risk of concussionThe authors of the study found that, among those who had been diagnosed with concussion, the “number of concussions associated with sportswears and other sports equipment was low” but the risks for serious injury were “significant”.
The risk for serious head injury from sports equipment is “significant” but not “very significant” in people who play sportswearing, Dr McNamaras said.
The risks of concussion associated with sports equipment were “high” compared with those of rugby, but “not significantly so” compared to soccer, she said in a statement.
The risk is also “very low” for people who do not play sport, she added, but the risk is “significantly higher” for those who do.
“It is likely that exposure to the risk from football is associated with some significant increase in the number of concussion events and the number and frequency of serious injuries.”
She added that there was no reason to believe that “the risks associated were particularly high” for children.
“Concussion is a serious condition that requires lifelong care, but it is also a condition that is very easy to treat,” she concluded.
“Football is a relatively new and rapidly evolving sport with an increasing demand for high quality and effective equipment.”