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Kids Shouldn’t Head The Ball

Date: 16th January 2020

The BBC are reporting that kids heading footballs could be banned in Scotland within weeks. The SFA want to act due to fears linking heading footballs with dementia. 

A report from November 2019 concluded that:

‘In this retrospective epidemiologic analysis, mortality from neurodegenerative disease was higher and mortality from other common diseases lower among former Scottish professional soccer players than among matched controls. Dementia-related medications were prescribed more frequently to former players than to controls. These observations need to be confirmed in prospective matched-cohort studies.’

That report has to be taken seriously. Now the effects of heading the ball now might be less when compared to heading an old bladder ball back in yesteryear. But it still seems obvious that we should look at the long term possibilities that come with heading a football, especially when it comes to children. Kids are growing and developing, we should probably protect their brains during that period and stop any possible negative impacts from happening at that stage. 

When I played football as a youngster I would often stand at the back post at corners. I made a fair share of goal-line clearances from that position and it made me feel great as I always felt I did my bit for the team. But a few of those times I’d clear shots away with my head and boy did I feel the impact. Again we should protect our children from that. 

If we can in someway prevent more professional footballers from suffering diseases like dementia then we should take that chance in my opinion and I’ll definitely applaud the SFA if they lead the way by banning headers in the kid’s game. 

But there’s actually another big potential positive in this for the Scottish game. 

Our game should be moved towards a more technical game rather than hoofing it away and battling for headers! 

If children are banned from heading, then they’ll be forced to become more innovated. It should vastly improve everyone’s first touch. It will probably see our young players keeping the ball on the deck and be smarter in looking for a pass. 

Changes to the rules can improve the style of the game. For an example look back when the professional game introduced the pass-back rule. Yes there was a lot of confusion at the start but goalkeepers had to become smarter when the ball arrived at them from a teammate. Fast-forward to today and the best keepers are the ones that can control the ball at their feet and pick a pass. That rule now has a big, positive legacy within our game! 

By banning heading now, in a decade or two our national team could really benefit as we could have a team of ball players and stars that are positive in possession. 

We should first and foremost look after our football player’s health, especially the youngsters. But we should also look at this ban and see that it could really change the dynamic of our footballing culture and very much for the better! 

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