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Headway calls for further heading research

Thu 18 Jun 2020

Leading brain injury charity Headway has reiterated its calls for further heading research to be undertaken as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) release guidelines on heading footballs for children.

The European soccer governing body has issued guidelines to protect the health of young players by reducing heading drills both in games and practice.

Luke Griggs, Headway’s Deputy Chief Executive, said: “Given the research that has already emerged linking heading footballs to degenerative brain diseases, a reduction in young children heading footballs seems entirely sensible.

“However, the lack of detail in UEFA’s new guidance document makes it hard to see how it will be of any benefit whatsoever to youth coaches or indeed national associations. Indeed, the football associations of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have already introduced new guidance that includes a ban on primary school-aged children heading footballs in training.

“UEFA said themselves that ‘scientific evidence at this moment does not allow for more detailed guidelines’. However, evidence has already been published by the likes of the University of Glasgow clearly identifying an issue.

“If football’s governing bodies believe that further evidence is required, they must use their vast resources to commission additional research without yet more unacceptable delay.”
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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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