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Headway calls for football to answer key questions on heading Main Image

Headway calls for football to answer key questions on heading

Mon 24 Feb 2020

Headway – the brain injury association has welcomed the joint announcement from football associations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland regarding new heading guidance for age groups between under-six and under-18. 

The main elements of the guidance are:

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.”

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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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