skip navigation

Prep notes: UW to study effectiveness of protective headgear in soccer

03/09/2016, 5:30pm CST
Full 90 protective headgear

A new study by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health will examine whether wearing headgear reduces concussions in high school soccer players – and it will involve thousands of Wisconsin athletes.

The study, announced Tuesday and funded by a $300,000 grant from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, will be the first to provide scientific evidence to guide recommendations about the use of protective headgear – such as the Full 90 (right) – to reduce sport-related concussions in teenage players.

“Our goal is to determine whether or not there is a benefit to using headgear so that all stakeholders can make decisions, based on strong scientific evidence, about the safety of our kids," Tim McGuine, a senior scientist in the UW Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, said in a news release.

Researchers will enroll 3,000 boys and girls from 88 Wisconsin prep soccer teams this spring for the study, which will start in August. Participants will complete a baseline questionnaire to provide information about their age, competition level, number of years playing competitive soccer and sport-related concussion history.

Half of the teams will be assigned to the intervention group, which will require players to wear protective headgear for all practices and games throughout their season. Schools in the control group will practice and compete without headgear.

Beyond the information about concussions in soccer and the effectiveness of headgear, researchers also hope to gain insight as to why concussion rates for high school girls soccer players are so much higher than those of prep boys players.

“The rate of concussion in girls high school soccer is fourth highest, behind only football, boys ice hockey and lacrosse, and high school girls soccer players get concussed at almost twice the rate as their male counterparts. The reason for this increased risk in girls is not clearly understood," said Dr. Alison Brooks, an assistant professor in the Division of Sports Medicine in UW's Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation – she was part of three NCAA championship teams, two of them undefeated, and played alongside the legendary Mia Hamm during her college soccer career at North Carolina from 1992 to '94.

Learn more about the study

  • The first games of the Wisconsin prep girls soccer season are still three weeks away, but Milwaukee DSHA already is a nationally ranked team. The Dashers, who finished 13-5-2 last spring, are 25th in this week's Top Drawer Soccer Fab 50 – up six spots from the website's preseason rankings. DSHA, which saw its 2015 season end with a 1-0 loss to Hartland Arrowhead in a WIAA Division 1 regional final, opens the season April 5 against Racine Prairie School before playing host to Kansas City Notre Dame de Sion, the reigning Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 3 state champion, on April 8 – the Storm currently are 50th in the TDS Fab 50. 
  • The Dashers are third in the TDS Great Lakes Region rankings, which also include defending WIAA Division 1 state champion Schofield D.C. Everest (26-1-2 in 2015) at No. 5. DSHA and the Evergreens hold the top two spots in the TDS Wisconsin rankings, with Waukesha West (16-3-3 in 2015) checking in at No. 3.
  • DSHA is ranked sixth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Region III preseason poll, which was released Tuesday.
  • Southern Door and Green Bay NEW Lutheran are discussing forming a co-operative team for this spring's girls soccer season, the Door County Advocate reported. The paper reports that the Southern Door School Board will vote on the proposal at its meeting next Tuesday. Both Packerland Conference schools had girls soccer teams in the past, but dropped the sport due to declining participation totals. If the plan is approved, as many as eight Southern Door players will make the 35-minute trip south from Brussels for daily practices in Green Bay with an assistant coach. Matt Zeitler, the Blazers' boys soccer coach, would coach the co-op team. Read full article
  • Bill Peplinski, who led the Appleton Xavier girls team to six state tournament appearances in his seven years as coach from 2007 to '13 – including the Division 2 state title in 2008 – died Friday at home, surrounded by his family. He was 69. Read obituary


Team Previous coach New coach
Cambridge-Deerfield Tim Topel Megan Lee-Cunningham
Cedarburg Trent Berg Robert Williams
Freedom Josh Blau TBA
Green Bay East Brandon Erkkila Jenna Phelps
Green Bay Preble Chris Becker Adam Ropson
Greenfield Rob Blake Peter Knebel
Kaukauna Tim Stuebs Ken Bastian
Menasha Lance Gordon Andrew Stanton
New Berlin Eisenhower Erin Frantz Nick Datka
New Berlin West Adam Bell Matt Drago
Wausau West Brady Mesenberg Jordan Spaciel
Winneconne Luis Sayavedra Megan White


Team Previous coach New coach
Brookfield Central Jon Mroz Dan Makal
Germantown Todd Fisher Patrick Morris
Kettle Moraine Greg Prospero Andrew Kolokoski
Muskego Eric Hess TBA
Neenah Harry Kelderman Nate Werner

Do you know of other prep coaching changes for the 2016 season? Let us know at

Recent Articles

Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association logo
Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association logo
Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association logo

Tag(s): Home  Prep Boys  Prep Girls  News  News