The main elements of the guidance are:
- No heading in training in the foundation phase (primary school children)
- Graduated approach to heading for children in the development phase U12-U16
- U18 heading drills should be reduced, to take into consideration the heading exposure in matches
- Don’t over inflate the footballs: use the lowest pressure authorised by the Laws of the Game
However, key questions still remain.
“In light of the robust research conducted by the University of Glasgow linking football to degenerative neurological conditions, it seems entirely sensible to limit the number of times children are allowed to head footballs,” said Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway – the brain injury association.
“The question is, is this enough? Should it be limited to children?
“We cannot allow for key questions to remain unanswered, such as at what age is it safe to head a modern football – if at all? Neither can we afford to wait 30 years for the results of a longitudinal study to reveal the answers or hesitate to introduce other common sense measures that protect players – such as concussion substitutes.
“Research is now emerging showing differences in brain functioning immediately following football matches or heading practice.
“Football has to be willing to react to this growing body of evidence and not solely rely on dementia diagnoses when assessing the relative risks of heading footballs compared to the wider health benefits we know playing sport brings.”Back