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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887


PONCE, Ernesto; PEREZ, Jesús; PONCE, Daniel  y  ANDRESEN, Max. Mathematical simulation of mild brain injury in children heading soccer balls. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2011, vol.139, n.8, pp.1089-1096. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Heading professional soccer balls can generate mild traumatic brain injury in children. The long-term consequences could include difficulty in solving problems and deficits in memory and language. Aim: To assess the impact of a professional adult soccer ball on a child´s head, using the finite element method and dynamic effects to predict brain damage. Material and Methods: The minimum conditions of an adult game were considered: the ball speed was 6 m/s and the diffuse blow was 345 and 369 Newtons (N), on the forehead and top of the head, respectively. A head was modeled in order to know the stresses, strains and displacements generated by the impacts. The extent of the alteration was determined by comparing the strength of brain tissue, with predictions of computed stresses. The geometric characteristics of the head were transferred from medical images. The input data of the materials of a child´s head was obtained from the literature. Results: In the case of heading with the forehead, mathematical simulation showed frontal lobe alterations, with brain stresses between 0.064 and 0.059 N/mm2. When the heading was with the upper head zone, the brain alterations were in the parietal lobe, with stresses between 0.089 and 0.067 N/mm2. In the cerebral spinal fluid the pressure was 3.61 to 3.24 N/mm2. Conclusions: The mathematical simulations reveal evidence of brain alterations caused by a child heading adult soccer balls. The model presented is an economical and quick tool that can help predict brain damage. It demonstrates the ability of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to absorb shock loads.

Palabras clave : Brain injuries; Models; theoretical; Soccer.

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