Football has not kept pace with our knowledge about heading the ball
19 September, 2019
• THERE is a growing body of evidence that repeated heading of the ball in football causes damage to the brain.
This has been shown in terms of function (a decline in memory and attention) and in terms of changes to the brain cells on a microscopic level.
For professional and serious amateur players it is becoming apparent that they are at a long-term risk of developing dementia and a particular form of dementia called chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Children compared to adults are more susceptible to damage from heading because they have weaker neck muscles, smaller head size and an the brain fits more tightly within the skull; so there is less room for swelling.
The rules of football have not kept pace with this knowledge. In the USA children under 10 are not allowed to head the ball and from 10-13 there are restrictions.
Children in this country need to be protected. Heading the ball in football should be banned for everyone under the age of 16.