Evaluating the validity of self-report as a method for quantifying heading exposure in male youth soccer

Stian B. Sandmo, Jolien Gooijers, Caroline Seer, David Kaufmann, Roald Bahr, Ofer Pasternak, Michael L. Lipton, Yorghos Tripodis, Inga K. Koerte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Assessing heading exposure in football is important when exploring the association between heading and brain alterations. To this end, questionnaires have been developed for use in adult populations. However, the validity of self-report in adolescents remains to be elucidated. Male youth soccer players (n = 34) completed a questionnaire on heading exposure after a two-week period, which included matches and training sessions. Self-reported numbers were compared to observation (considered reference). In total, we observed 157 training sessions and 64 matches. Self-reported heading exposure correlated with observed heading exposure (Spearman’s rho 0.68; p < 0.001). Players systematically overestimated their heading exposure by a factor of 3 with the random error of 46%. Area under the curve was 0.87 (95% CI 0.67–1) utilizing self-report for identifying players from high- and low-exposure groups. Thus, in this study, self-reported data could be used to group youth players into high and low heading exposure groups, but not to quantify individual heading exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-439
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Sports Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Subconcussion
  • TBI
  • football
  • neurodegeneration
  • soccer heading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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