The number of purposeful headers female youth soccer players experience during games depends on player age but not player position
Science and Medicine in Football
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© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe the frequency and characteristics of purposeful soccer heading in youth players based on age, position, and head impact location. Methods: Game video was recorded for three female youth teams [under-13 (U13), under-14 (U14), and under-15 (U15)] for an entire season. Purposeful headers were categorized for these three teams and their opposition. Results: The median number of headers experienced during games was one, and the minimum number of headers was zero. The maximum number of headers performed during a game by a U13 player was eight, and nine for U14 and U15 players. There were statistically significant differences in the number of headers performed in the different age groups (p < 0.05), but no significant differences between player position (p > 0.05). There was no significant association between head impact location and game scenario (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Our study shows that youth players frequently head the ball during games. This information may guide data-driven approaches regarding heading restrictions in youth soccer.