By Rachel McNeill
HOUSTON (KPRC/NBC) - Studies have shown that the number of girls suffering concussions playing soccer is only second to football.
The front part of the brain, where you head the ball, controls short-term memory, working memory, impulse control and attention.
But rather than studying that in a lab with expensive equipment, UTHealth neuroscientists developed an app for that, and it yielded some pretty surprising results.
Girls playing soccer suffer about twice as many concussions as boys, but not much research has been done looking into the effects of repeatedly heading the ball, so called sub-concussive blows.
UTHealth neuroscientist Anne Sereno led an iPad-based experiment to test the impact of "ball heading" among girl varsity soccer players.
"It was very surprising and this is a very important topic right now," Sereno says.
Her team developed a simple iPad app to measure cognitive function.