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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a growing concern among professional athletes. Concern increased in soccer after several players immediately returned to play following TBI during the 2014 World Cup. The purpose of our study was to determine if individual performance measures (total years pro, total seasons, total games played, total games started, total minutes, total goals, total assists, total shots, and total shots on goal) were affected by TBI that occurred while competing in Major League Soccer (MLS). We also investigated if there were differences in career performance measures of MLS players with TBI versus without TBI in their career. Our sample consisted of 97 field players that competed in MLS between 1996-2014. After determining if the player suffered a TBI while competing in MLS, they were placed in either the TBI or the non-TBI group. We compared individual game performance measures of the TBI group prior to the year of TBI to performance measures occurring after the year of TBI. Furthermore, we compared total career performance measures of both groups and noted statistically significant differences between performance measures. Our research showed that certain individual player performance measures decreased after TBI. The players competed in fewer games, started fewer games, and played fewer minutes. Comparisons of the TBI to the non-TBI group, the TBI group competed longer in MLS and the non-TBI group had a greater number of hypotheses were supported, showing TBI has an impact in player performance.

Publication Date



University of Minnesota, Morris


Morris, MN


Soccer; Brain injuries


Sports Sciences

Primo Type

Conference Proceeding

Traumatic brain injury and its effect on performance measures of Major League Soccer players