‘Soccer players have more brainpower’

Brawny athletes are rarely brainy, or so the stereotype goes. But a new study reports that soccer players actually have superior executive functions, the brain processes responsible for planning and abstract thinking. And the more elite the player, the better these functions.

  The ability game intelligence, and it’s “very, very fundamental to the way we make decisions,” said study author Predrag Petrovic, a
neuroscientist at Karolinska Institute in Sweden. “It’s a way of working with information and making decisions about the environment.”

  The researchers measured executive function using a standardized test called D-KEFS, which assesses skills in problem solving, creativity and rule making.

The highest scores went to soccer players from Sweden’s most elite league, followed by players from a lower division. Nonplayers finished behind both groups of players.