English, Scottish And Irish FAs Ban Heading During Practice For Children Ages 6 To 11

Children between the ages of six and 11 have been banned from heading during practice by the English, Scottish and Irish FAs. The heading ban was announced on Monday following a landmark study into the correlation between footballers and brain disease.

What's more, an FA study revealed that, on average, there are only two headers in each youth game. This shows how little of an impact headers have on youth games. When it comes to football at higher age groups, the FA said a “graduated approach” will be taken, per Sky News.

So, what does this mean in the big picture?

Well, for starters, the health of young footballers will improve. A study on former players found that they are 3.5 times more likely to die from brain disease and five times more likely to die of Alzheimer's. Reducing the amount of impact to the head at an early age can only reduce the chances of issues developing down the road.

The ban comes five years after U.S. Soccer implemented a similar restriction on players under the age of 10. The U.S. already has its own dilemma with head injuries when it comes to American football as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is found in almost every brain donated by former NFL players.

Aside from increased player safety, a greater emphasis on teaching children footwork rather than hoofing the ball upfield to the tallest player could see better play at the youth level. Who knows, perhaps this is the beginning of the greatest tiki-taka generation.

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