'Headers' Deemed Too Dangerous for Children


When you think of dangerous sports for your child to participate in, football possibly wouldn't be at the top for head injuries. Broken ankles maybe, even arms, but concussion?

A group of American 'soccer moms' think football (termed soccer in America) is quite dangerous. They have accused FIFA of acting "carelessly and negligently", putting children at risk of developing concussions after playing the sport.

Football header injury

FA Change the Rules

Medical research has surfaced to prove the mother's right in their claim by stating that 'heading' the ball when the neck muscles are not fully developed could lead to lasting damage. The report also went on to say that the impact of the ball hitting the head could result in the brain bouncing "back and forth" within the skull, causing further damage in a 'two pronged attack' on a child.

Throughout the World Cup and during the Premier League, there were numerous examples of when football crossed the line from happy sporting fun to a potentially fatal incident.

In 2002, Jeff Astle, the West Bromwich Albion striker died as a result of brain trauma. The coroner referred to the disease as 'industrial' alluding to the fact that it was his profession as a striker that lead to the ailment that ultimately took his life. With evidence like this on the table, it's not hard to understand why parents may be concerned about their child playing the 'good game'.

The English Football Association (FA) has responded to the evidence by issuing new rules; the team doctor now has to give approval for a player to carry on playing after blow to the head. However, the daughter of Mr Astle stated that this doesn’t go far enough to acknowledge the part 'headers' played in causing the death of her father.

"Concussions Can Kill"

The American lawsuit has opened up the UK sporting industry to scrutiny with a report entitled 'Concussion Can Kill' released in June. It calls for a parliamentary investigation into head injuries and sports.

Children often play at school under the supervision of a teacher or teaching assistant in the playground, but what if they aren’t being supervised. If your child is playing football at school and is not being monitored, what kind if harm can they come to? Grazed elbows and scraped knees are a given, but potential brain injuries and concussion are not.

Although there is no basis in law for parents in this country to bring a case like the one we are seeing in the States, schools may think twice with the new term approaching about their own safety rules.

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