Heading in training for primary school children has been banned by UK football bosses across England, Scotland and North Ireland due to a neurodegenerative disease study carried out.
According to the study, football players were more 3.5 times more likely to die from neurodegenerative related diseases such as Parkinson’s.
As a result, they have banned the teaching of heading at primary school level while evolving the course for secondary school level up to under 16’s so that it is carried out safely.
Mark Bullingham, the FA chief executive went on to state:
“This updated heading guidance is an evolution of our current guidelines and will help coaches and teachers to reduce and remove repetitive and unnecessary heading from youth football.
“Our research has shown that heading is rare in youth football matches, so this guidance is a responsible development to our grassroots coaching without impacting the enjoyment that children of all ages take from playing the game.”
The UK now joins the United States which has also banned the heading of balls for children under 10 years of age.
Althoughthe ban currently covers just England, Scotland and North Ireland for now, it is expected to be implemented across Europe in the near future, having been ‘produced in parallel with UEFA’s medical committee’ according to reports by AFP.
The research in the study was emphasised after former West Bromwich Albion striker Jeff Astle died in 2002 from what his coroner described as ‘chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which the coroner ruled had been caused by repeated heading of a football’ according to AFP reports.
The ban does not extend to matches as there are very few goals scored by head ins at the age level.
Currently, there are no regulations in place for players at senior level as stakeholders wait to see how this ban may affect the footballing experience going forward.