A new study conducted by Swedish researchers has found that soccer players have superior cognitive functions compared to non players.
They also revealed that there is a significant correlation between their cognitive function and number of goals and assists.
The researchers led by Predrag Petrovic of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, measured general executive functions, including creativity and cognitive flexibility, in male and female soccer players and non-players.
They found that the soccer players performed better than the non-players, and furthermore, the higher level players performed better than the lower division athletes.
These results emphasize the importance of cognitive functions, in addition to physical skill, for achieving the highest level of athletic performance.
"The study cannot answer the question whether the difference in executive functions mirrors practice or genes. There is probably both an inherited component and a component that is trained," the researchers said.
The finding has been published Apr. 4 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.