Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

School or Department

Biological Sciences, Division of


Biology – Human Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentor Department

Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Faculty Mentor

Thomas Rau


Youth sports have been under severe scrutiny lately for the neurological damage coming to light after years of repeated head impact players endure. US Soccer has created somewhat controversial concussion regulations and protocols in the last couple of years to combat this criticism- such as not allowing players under the age of eleven to head the ball. Many coaches, however, believe these regulations could impair the game of soccer and the abilities of the players themselves. As a human biological sciences major as well as having played soccer for the last seventeen years, my project is centered around coalescing current research on the dangers of heading in youth soccer with various coaches’ opinions of how certain regulations can endanger the integrity of a game 2.65 billion people take part in worldwide. I have created an editorial piece that examines the coaches' perspectives on how to better maintain the beauty of the game while creating a safe playing environment. To carry out this project I interviewed coaches of all playing levels ranging from coaching players five years of age to the professional level. I then asked scholars with diverse medical backgrounds their opinions on the new Return to Play Protocol. Using these sources as well as the most current research I hope to discover how to best combat the neurological impact soccer can have on current and future players. I have created an article that is easy to understand for people of all educational backgrounds to educate parents, coaches and players while also stimulating dialogue on the issue and possible solutions. This research can be used for further insight into how to integrate science into the beautiful game of soccer and create a safe, educated, and fun playing environment for all to enjoy.

Honors College Research Project




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