In light of recent medical evidence regarding the effects of head trauma from contact sports, isn’t it time soccer did away with the archaic and dangerous practice of heading the ball?
In 1995, a medical research study showed that children who headed the ball in soccer suffered a 9% reduction in IQ in comparison to their peers.
Oddly, no one really paid any attention - not coaches, school officials or even parents.
But now nearly two decades later, there is a new dilemma that has been discovered - Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE - a neuro-degenerative disease that seems to be common denominator for all contact sports. In soccer, CTE also seems to be linked to the concussive effects of heading the ball.
And still, many school officials and law makers are doing nothing about it. Consequently, many parents are unaware of the consequences.
Parents need to be made aware.
At Protect the Pug we need to push for changes in legislation to eliminate this practice in soccer. But given that laws are slow to change, we need to urge schools to advise parents with brochures that they need to both read and sign to give their children to participate in a game that currently allows them to head the ball. We created a petition which is looking to change laws that prevent schools from letting children head the ball during play and also provide parents with literature making them aware of the dangers. This petition can be accessed here.
Concussive and sub concussive blows are not only linked to CTE but also other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease - diseases that not only sabotage a players IQ but also ability to athletically perform. That’s right the very abilities that enable an athlete to perform at the world class level.
Not Good Business Sense
If that’s the case, other than lawsuits, shouldn’t professional team owners who own multi-hundred million dollar teams, and pay their players millions of dollars a year be concerned that a single practice could be destroying their players ability to perform?
It’s a New World
If no one cares about the welfare of a child’s mental and intellectual development - if it is all about the bottom line of profit - then in light of the risks to players and investment, would it not be wise that the team owners and the league wake up and agree to eliminate this one dangerous practice of heading the ball which will protect their investment in a number of ways from their players ability to perform, to preventing lawsuits from players both now and in the future, from parents keeping their children out the game which will potentially result in the loss of the next Lionel Messi, to the sport consequently suffering loss in overall participation, fan interest and ultimately lost revenue like American football?
It will certainly be a lot easier and faster to get schools, parents and children to comply if the rule change came from the top - The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). What do you say guys?