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Portlaoise College students get their head in the game at BT Young Scientist exhibition

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Ms. Aoife Fox and students ready for departure for the BT Young Scientist

Portlaoise College TY students Luke Kelly, Byron Sage McGuirk and Lee Carroll Talbot headed to the RDS today accompanied by teacher Ms Aoife Fox to display their findings for this annual competition.

Their project entitled ‘Does heading the ball in football affect your memory and reaction speed?’ is certainly topical in an era when head injuries are the cause of concern across many sports.

The lads aimed to find out if heading the ball had negative implications for people.

They were inspired by the former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer’s documentary ‘Dementia, football and me’.

Lee picked up the idea from this, himself and Byron team mates for Portlaoise AFC, and along with Luke their scientific journey began.

They engaged in a series of experiments and investigations which showed signs of deterioration in both memory and reactions.

Heading the ball had a negative reaction on 50% of participants tested for reaction speed and 58.3% of those memory tested.

This despite most people surveyed expressing the view that heading was not harmful.

The students and Ms. Fox were set up and ready for action from early Wednesday morning and are looking forward to presenting their findings when it’s open to the public from Thursday January 10.

We wish them well in the competition.

Luke Kelly, Lee Carroll Talbot, Byron Sage McGuirk

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