BOSTON (CBS) – A warning for female soccer players. Hitting balls with your head may be riskier if you’re a female than if you’re a male.

A new study from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine published in the journal Radiology looked at brain MRIs of almost 100 soccer players between the ages of 18 and 50 who frequently head balls. They found more widespread alteration of the white matter in the female brains compared to the male brains.

White matter is made up of nerve fibers that connect brain cells to one another and disruption of this communication can lead to cognitive decline and behavioral changes.

Experts are urged to find ways to make the game of soccer safer, especially for female players.

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