When it comes to concussions, at least, soccer isn’t that different from football if you’re a teenage girl, according to a study of 20 high school sports published in the November 2019 issue of Pediatrics, a peer-reviewed medical journal. The sport also has been pitched as a safer alternative to football amid growing evidence of football’s physical toll on participants, including neurological damage. University of North Carolina researchers found football had the highest concussion rate, with 10.4 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures, followed by girls soccer with 8.19 concussions. Can soccer headgear help? Soccer headgear could help prevent some of those injuries, according to ratings released by the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab. Several models earned the top score of five stars, which translates to a reduction in risk of at least 70 percent for the impacts tested. “There’s a risk of injury in any sport, but protective equipment can reduce that risk significantly,” said Steve Rowson, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics and the lab’s director.