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FA guidelines change to protect children against possible future increased risk of brain injury.

Research published at the end of last year by Glasgow University has revealed that ex professional footballers are 3.5 times more likely to die from degenerative brain disease (including Parkinsons) compared to other people. Whilst the research does not specifically link the cause of the brain damage to heading balls in the game, nonetheless it is generally accepted in medical circles that multiple impacts to the head can increase a person’s propensity to develop disorders of the brain later in life.

In a welcome response to the university’s research, the Football Associations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (but not Wales as yet), have published guidelines recommending that children under the age of 11 will no longer be taught how to head footballs during training practices. For children aged 11-18 the advice is to limit the amount of heading they should be doing.

The Football Associations in the UK and Northern Ireland are not the only organisations which acknowledge the potential damaging link between the sport and brain injury. Similar restrictions for younger players were decided upon by the United States Soccer Foundation were put in place in 2015 . Research studies conducted in other countries such as Canada and Norway have also raised concerns over the link between footballers and brain disease. Further studies are currently underway in the UK in relation to this.

Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of the brain injury charity, Headway has said:

“We are encouraged to hear the Football Association is set to restrict the amount of heading allowed by young players. In light of the recent study undertaken by the University of Glasgow, this is a positive, common sense approach to take. After all, it will not prohibit young people participating in the game or impact their enjoyment.”

The Football Associations in the UK and Northern Ireland are not the only organisations which acknowledge the potential damaging link between the sport and brain injury. Similar restrictions for younger players were decided upon by the United States Soccer Foundation were put in place in 2015 . Research studies conducted in other countries such as Canada and Norway have also raised concerns over the link between footballers and brain disease. Further studies are currently underway in the UK in relation to this.

Lyons Davidson is proud to work in partnership with Headway, a brain injury charity.  To find out more about our partnership, or to speak to one of our head and spinal injury specialists please contact Kerry Smitheram today.

Email: [email protected]
Direct Dial: 0117 904 5794

Posted on Feb 27th, 2020 by Lyons Davidson

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