Heading footballs BANNED in primary school training across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as studies find former players three-and-a-half times more likely to die of neurodegenerative disease
- Heading banned in football training for children up to the end of primary school
- Football Associations in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland announced news
- It comes in wake of study which shows ex-footballers are three-and-a-half times more likely to die of neurodegenerative disease
- No changes have been made to match situations for primary school footballers
A heading ban in football training for children up to the end of primary school has been introduced with immediate effect in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The three football associations issued a statement on Monday morning confirming changes to their heading guidance, which come in the wake of the FIELD study which showed former footballers were three and a half times more likely to die of neurodegenerative disease than age-matched members of the general population.
The changes stated there would be no heading at all in the ‘foundation phase’ – primary school children – and a graduated approach to heading in training in under-12s to under-16s football.
Heading footballs in training has been banned in primary schools with immediate effect
There will be no change in terms of heading in matches, taking into consideration the extremely limited number of headers which actually occur in youth matches.
The FIELD study did not state that heading a ball was the cause of the increased prevalence of neurodegenerative conditions among footballers, but the decision to update the guidelines has been taken to ‘mitigate against any potential risks’, the FA said in a statement.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: ‘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.’
Former West Brom and England star Jeff Astle died aged 59 with dementia