Children are banned from heading the ball during training in the United Kingdom


Football associations of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have established new guidelines to avoid possible brain diseases that their players may suffer in the long run by hitting the ball with the head. A widespread practice in the world of football, but that involves certain health risks, according to a recent study published by the University of Glasgow.

According to this publication, professional footballers have 3.5 times higher risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease than the rest of the population and five times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. The investigation attributes the result to the accumulated damages in the brain by the effect of repeatedly hitting the ball with the head. The study was based on data from 7,676 soccer players retired from Scotland, all of them over 40.

Scottish FA

The new guideline will be applied gradually until the age of 18

The Scottish FA took note of these conclusions and announced a few weeks ago a new regulation to avoid this risk practice. The restrictions regarding head the ball during workouts they will be applied gradually to all age groups under 18, although players under 12 will be banned, as the BBC.

“These new guidelines have been designed to help coaches eliminate repetitive and unnecessary headers in the early years of youth soccer, ”said Ian Maxwell, executive director of the Scottish FA. “We are clear that the guidelines should mitigate any potential risk,” he added.

Application of the guideline

Players will not be penalized during matches

However, these new rules do not contemplate that players are penalized for hitting the ball with their heads during games. Instead of taking drastic measures, the association expects coaches to encourage players to combine play and to perform passes and bargains so avoid using your head to hit the ball. Likewise, the association encourages the population to report bad practices in relation to this issue to the corresponding association. In addition, it will follow up and the guidelines will be updated every year.

In this way, the SFA intends to lead the way globally with respect to head injuries and trauma in sport. “I am proud that the Scottish FA has taken a positive, proactive and proportionate approach to the results of the field study,” said its head.


United States, the champion of the initiative

A similar ban, which also included this limitation during matches and not just during training, has been applied in the United States since 2015. A regulatory change that occurred after several coaches and parents took legal action against the Football Federation of USA UU.

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