Scotland to ban children under 12 using head while playing football

epa06839663 Children play soccer at the adidas creators base football space in the Museum of Moscow in Park Kulture in Moscow, Russia, 25 June 2018. The FIFA World Cup 2018 that takes place in Russia from 14 June until 15 July 2018. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

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Parents and teachers tell children to use their head. Well, in Scotland, that might not be allowed.

The Scottish Football Association was finalizing proposals to banning children under 12 from using heading while playing soccer.

Based on a report from the University of Glasgow, former pro soccer players are 3.5 times more likely to die from dementia and other neurological diseases.

The Scottish football governing body is expected to announce a ban on under-12s heading the ball in training later this month. A similar ban has been in place in the US since 2015.

But Scotland would become the first European country to impose a restriction on head contact. Discussions have been ongoing since the release of a study in October which found the first links between former players and degenerative brain disease.

The spotlight has now fallen on the English FA, which has reiterated its belief that heading is safe and has no plans to change its policy. There was no evidence to suggest that heading in youth football would put players at more risk than at other stages in a professional footballer’s career, the English FA said.

“Heading is actually significantly less common in children’s games,” read the statement. “Our analysis shows that on average there are only around 1.5 headers per game in youth football.

“The Medical & Football Advisory group currently don’t advise any changes to the rules of the game, but they have supported practical guidelines for heading practice which are common sense and in line with modern coaching practice.”

The Guardian / BBC 


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