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Headway encouraged by FA heading reports

Thu 06 Feb 2020

Headway has welcomed reports that the Football Association is set to launch new coaching guidelines that will restrict the amount of heading by under-18 players in training.

Newspaper articles claim that the governing body will not ban heading by children, but is expected to recommend a reduction in the amount of times young players head the ball. The FA action is in response to research last year that found professional footballers were 3.5 times more likely to die of degenerative brain disease than the average person.

Sources have told media outlets guidelines are being finalised but are expected to cover players under 18, with different guidance for different ages. If reports are correct, The FA's new guidelines are expected to be issued later this month and will only apply in training and not in matches.

Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway – the brain injury association said: “We are encouraged to hear the Football Association is set to restrict the amount of heading allowed by young players.

“In light of the recent study undertaken by the University of Glasgow, this is a positive, common sense approach to take. After all, it will not prohibit young people participating in the game or impact their enjoyment.  

“Further research is urgently needed in order to remove any uncertainty about how often a player can head a ball and at what age – if any – it is safe to do so before damage is caused.

“What is clear, however, is that we cannot afford to wait for further evidence to be published before taking action on this.”

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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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