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A 2002 report of a United States Institute of Medicine workshop found that “no peer-reviewed studies have been published to support or refute the use of helmets in soccer and no authoritative medical or sports organizations have recommended the use of helmets in soccer”.1 However, in 2003, FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, and three leading national sports bodies in the United States—US Soccer Federation, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and National Federation of State High School Associations—reversed their traditional ban on padded headgear and began to permit use by any soccer player.2
Before the widespread adoption of soccer headgear makes it difficult to evaluate this latest sport injury preventive measure,3 now is a good time to start soccer headgear research projects in one or more states and countries.
A search of Medline combining “Head Protective Devices” and “Soccer” returned only four articles in English from 1966 through March 2004. Neither the Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects database of the National Institutes of Health (CRISP, accessed 6 April 2004 at www.nih.gov) nor the ProjectBank database of the National Association of Injury Control Research Centers (accessed 6 April 2004 at www.naicrc.org) listed any current or recent investigations of soccer headgear.
Sports related traumatic brain injury is an important public health problem because of the large number of cases each year, the generally young age of cases at time of injury, and the potential cumulative effects of repeated injuries.4 Nevertheless, not all new personal protective equipment is efficacious and effective.