Apr 5, 2016
Youth Soccer Groups Ban Headers

Many youth soccer organizations are banning headers from games. This change is in response to guidelines laid out by the U.S. Soccer Federation in November 2015.

Articles from Today Parents  and NBC Sports discuss the change in US Soccer guidelines, which was brought about to settle a class-action lawsuit from parents who were concerned about concussions. The new guidelines suggest that youth ages 10 and under not be allowed to head the ball.

An article from TribLive.com (Pittsburgh, Pa.) explains that new rules have resulted in many locations. The Pennsylvania West Soccer Association has banned players under 11 years old from doing headers, with a penalty of a free kick to the opposing team if the rule is violated. Players who are between 11 and 13 years old are limited to a maximum of 20 headers per week during practice.

According to an article from The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), the Iowa Soccer Association has also banned headers for players who are younger than 11 years old and made a similar limitation on the number allowed for older players. Along with these changes, an emphasis is being placed on teaching good techniques—and the benefits of being involved with sports.

“I’m never going to discourage normal healthy kids from playing sports of any kind,” Andrew Peterson, a clinical associate professor with University of Iowa Sports Medicine told The Gazette. “Kids who are active tend to be active adults… and the risk of concussion is nothing compared to the risk of inactivity.”

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