Is it a matter of time before heading is banned?

sullydnl

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How accurate is the science? There are a lot of people that play football globally, I find it hard to believe that dementia can be linked directly to football. Something wrong with the model they've used, must contain bias. Remember most people that develop dementia are old. How long have they been running the study? What is the sample and population data?
That's part of the current problem, there isn't enough research. So they're calling for more funding for research and measures like reduction of headers in training and restrictions for children in the meantime pending further evidence. In fact in the case of children those restrictions already exist (guidelines are that under 12s shouldn't be heading the ball) but the calls from the likes of Geoff Hurst are for an actual ban.

As it stands the best research so far on football specifically was a 22-month research project by the University of Glasgow that looked at the cause of death for 7,676 ex-pros versus a population average. It found that the ex-footballers were three and a half times more likely to suffer from dementia. There was also a five-fold increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s, a four-fold increase in motor neurone disease and a two-fold increase in Parkinson’s.

There was still a lot of work to be done in confirming that heading in particular was the issue, as well assessing the effect changes in equipment and/or in the way the game is now played (with much fewer headers in a game) has already had. However, there are also studies from other sports from which you could conclude that the impact of even a modern football repeatedly hitting your skull is unlikely to be irrelevant.
 

harms

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In all seriousness, I would like to see more evidence on this – specifically regarding football. It may very well be true, but I haven't seen anything aside from a few bogus reports – but that very well may be the fact that I didn't see it, not that it doesn't exist. I support the American system where it isn't allowed in kids football though.

The risk is clearly significantly lesser than that of an American football/rugby.

Banning heading in training is sufficient
So you'd have a crucial part of the game itself banned in training but allowed in the game itself? I wonder how that would work, especially with players (as you've stated later) having the opportunity to practise that element on their own. Who is going to control it? How many managers are going to allow it? Would someone like Bielsa dominate the game because he'll find a loophole and his team would be the only one competent aerially? Would older teams bully younger teams because their players were developing when the heading training was still allowed?
 

sullydnl

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Trials for concussion subs have also been approved, which seems relevant.
 

marktan

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Would heading then be replaced by some other part of the face the, e.g. the chin? That'd be interesting to watch
 

GenZRed

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Let's wrap the footballers in bubble wrap and make them wear helmets.

Fecking hell why not ban anything that is even remotely dangerous? Some people need to get a grip.

I can understand banning heading in say, U11s football but come on. People get dementia because of advance age when they've lived their life because hey ho, our bodies break down past a certain age.
 

youmeletsfly

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So in boxing you should ban any hit to the face/head?
It's a men's sport and, like any other sport, it has some risks.
Also, with technology these days, it's not hard to create protective gear.
 

Chipper

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Would heading then be replaced by some other part of the face the, e.g. the chin? That'd be interesting to watch
Hadn't thought of that, but was thinking shoulders might become common, especially with the new interpretation of the handball rule as there wouldn't be much risk of giving away a free kick.

Assuming faces were banned too, the top of the shoulder would be the highest part of the body you're leaglly allowed to play the ball with. Not much control/accuracy for strikers trying to score with it but might be the best way for a defender to get a bit of distance when clearing a ball dropping from a big height. Big hard bone there and you could make a shrugging motion to generate a bit of power as you jump.
 

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Maybe just ban heading in training? It would be a strange game without heading
Well yeah it's the repetitive training of headers that the problem. I don't think heading the ball a few times once a week is the problem.

I do think it's only a matter of time, given the stats around dementia in footballers.

It definitely should be banned below a certain age when the brain and body is still developing.
 
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It may be banned eventually, probably not for about 20 years though

I’m not sure actually, they’ve progressively made the balls lighter over the decades. The balls the likes of Bobby & Nobby played with were far heavier than the current balls.
 

Stack

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I am in full support of children being stopped from heading as they are still growing and the hardness of their skulls are only improving beneath the ages of 8-10.

But I am a skeptic of "Dementia caused by heading". The main reason being that the evidence that has so far been cited are on "Former Professionals". Players who've played in the 60s-90s mainly. They may indeed find some correlation here as footballs used to be so much harder even as late as the early 2000s.

But the key question is - Do modern footballs also impact the human skull as they used? Footballs these days are far lighter and far more absorbent of impact than the old leather balls. There will indeed be a disproportionate number of footballers from the 60s having injured brains compared to those from the modern era because of the quality of the balls. Not only that, rules dictated by referees were different then too. A bang to the head, an elbow here and there was seen as "Nothing... just walk it off"

It is far more likely that the lack of concussion protocols or the acceptance of head injury through physical impact on a football pitch for so long was the likelier reason for diminishing brain function.
Hardness of the skull isnt a factor. The brain sits in a fluid and sloshes around inside our skulls. If the head meets the ball there is less sloshing around compared to if the ball hits the head. The weight hasnt really changed that much either.
" The official size and weight of the ball was first fixed in 1872. It was changed ever so little in 1937 when the official weight was increased from 13-15 oz to 14-16 oz. The Encyclopedia of Association Football (first published in England in 1956) says as follows “According to the Laws of Football, the ball must be spherical with an outer casing of leather or other approved materials. The circumference shall not be more than 28 in., nor less than 27 in, while the weight at the start of the game must not be more that 16 oz., nor less than 14 oz.” The Laws of the Game as published in 2001 say exactly the same thing as to size and weight. "
Synthetic footballs appeared in the 60s. Leather balls had the problem that they absorbed water if an old ball. The last leather ball used at a world cup was the Tango in 1982 and it had a water proof coating. I still own a Tango and it weighs basically the same as a new ball today.

This is a study from back in 2003, there are lots of newer ones and if you are a skeptic you should start doing some research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1126775/

I had a coach in the early 70s when I was a teen who warned us about the dangers of heading to much. at training leading to concussion. Its a problem thats been in the background for a long time.
 

Stack

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It may be banned eventually, probably not for about 20 years though

I’m not sure actually, they’ve progressively made the balls lighter over the decades. The balls the likes of Bobby & Nobby played with were far heavier than the current balls.
The balls Bobby and Nobby played with were the same weight the current players play with. The only difference was that they used leather balls which in the wet absorbed water. Leather balls were pretty much obsolete at the professional level by the mid 80s
 

alexthelion

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I am in full support of children being stopped from heading as they are still growing and the hardness of their skulls are only improving beneath the ages of 8-10.

But I am a skeptic of "Dementia caused by heading". The main reason being that the evidence that has so far been cited are on "Former Professionals". Players who've played in the 60s-90s mainly. They may indeed find some correlation here as footballs used to be so much harder even as late as the early 2000s.

But the key question is - Do modern footballs also impact the human skull as they used? Footballs these days are far lighter and far more absorbent of impact than the old leather balls. There will indeed be a disproportionate number of footballers from the 60s having injured brains compared to those from the modern era because of the quality of the balls. Not only that, rules dictated by referees were different then too. A bang to the head, an elbow here and there was seen as "Nothing... just walk it off"

It is far more likely that the lack of concussion protocols or the acceptance of head injury through physical impact on a football pitch for so long was the likelier reason for diminishing brain function.
I wonder how they can say definitively that it's caused by heading the ball. My dad never played football, but he has dementia.
 

Ekeke

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No. But I can see them being more harsh on challenges that are late and miss the ball and head the opponent instead. So you have to get it right or dont do it, or risk a red card if you get it badly wrong
 

Sandikan

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A lot of older people get dementia without having ever headed a ball. So it definitely needs a lot more research.
Clearly repeated blows to the head aren't exactly ideal though.
Peewee kids football should be based on ball control and space anyway, so banning heading in organised training and games for kids makes sense.

However, everyone knows the balls they use these days are like balloons compared to the insanely heavy balls from the distant past. Probably even a fair bit lighter than balls 20 years ago!
If you caught a ball wrong that would sting!
 

Sandikan

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Oh come on you cant be serious
If there was such a definite link wouldn't all ex players end up getting dementia?
How many would have got it anyway?
What would an "acceptable" percentage be?

It's a very tough thing to ascertain really.
 

Stack

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A lot of older people get dementia without having ever headed a ball. So it definitely needs a lot more research.
Clearly repeated blows to the head aren't exactly ideal though.
Peewee kids football should be based on ball control and space anyway, so banning heading in organised training and games for kids makes sense.

However, everyone knows the balls they use these days are like balloons compared to the insanely heavy balls from the distant past. Probably even a fair bit lighter than balls 20 years ago!
If you caught a ball wrong that would sting!
So many things wrong here. Firstly many things cause dementia but one that is a known factor is repeated knocks to the head, even small ones. There is a thing called delayed concussion which is a well known thing. The balls from 20 years ago weigh the same as they do today and were made of synthetic materials which dont absorb water which was the problem with balls pre 1980s. Balls are not like balloons compared to 20 years ago
 

Stack

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If there was such a definite link wouldn't all ex players end up getting dementia?
How many would have got it anyway?
What would an "acceptable" percentage be?

It's a very tough thing to ascertain really.
oh good greif, again you cant be serious. I suggest you go do some googling about head injuries, concussion and brain injuries in sport.
 

Sandikan

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So many things wrong here. Firstly many things cause dementia but one that is a known factor is repeated knocks to the head, even small ones. There is a thing called delayed concussion which is a well known thing. The balls from 20 years ago weigh the same as they do today and were made of synthetic materials which dont absorb water which was the problem with balls pre 1980s. Balls are not like balloons compared to 20 years ago
I said balloons versus the "distant" past.
And "probably" are lighter than 20 years ago. Which I'm not convinced is wrong either. They've definitely changed the balls a few times since then, with lighter being one of the changes.
 

acnumber9

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It would change the game so much you may as well just ban football. At most all they could do is make headgear mandatory but will it really make a difference? Also banning it in training will have a huge impact on the game when players can’t practise a huge part of it.
 

Sandikan

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oh good greif, again you cant be serious. I suggest you go do some googling about head injuries, concussion and brain injuries in sport.

In your extensive reading of said studies has there been a percentage difference given in likelihood of getting dementia with heading footballs versus not?
 

Stack

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I said balloons versus the "distant" past.
And "probably" are lighter than 20 years ago. Which I'm not convinced is wrong either. They've definitely changed the balls a few times since then, with lighter being one of the changes.
The balls are made to a standard weight and size which has hardly changed since the 50s, you need to go check that out. I have an old Tango ball from 1982 and it weighs the same as a new ball. It was the last leather ball used at world cup level. "The official size and weight of the ball was first fixed in 1872. It was changed ever so little in 1937 when the official weight was increased from 13-15 oz to 14-16 oz. The Encyclopedia of Association Football (first published in England in 1956) says as follows “According to the Laws of Football, the ball must be spherical with an outer casing of leather or other approved materials. The circumference shall not be more than 28 in., nor less than 27 in, while the weight at the start of the game must not be more that 16 oz., nor less than 14 oz.” The Laws of the Game as published in 2001 say exactly the same thing as to size and weight. What has changed drastically over the last 30 or so years is the material the ball is made of and the shape of the panels that make up the ball."
 

Sandikan

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It would change the game so much you may as well just ban football. At most all they could do is make headgear mandatory but will it really make a difference? Also banning it in training will have a huge impact on the game when players can’t practise a huge part of it.
It'd have a huge effect on some lower league teams who play a very high ball direct game!
But you're right. It'd totally change the game. There have been some huge changes to football over the years, like no back passes and offside changes etc, but this would be the biggest yet.

What would happen at corners or goal kicks? It'd be an even madder playing out from the back style game
 

Steve Bruce

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Was listening to somebody on the radio he said the ball being lighter means in is coming at somebodies head a lot faster so the impact is not lesser than in past days.
I heard on the radio the its to do with kinetic energy rather than the weight of the ball. She said that today's balls create up to 4 times the kinetic energy & that today's players are at greater risk. She was a daughter of a former England captain who died 5/10 years ago. Can't remember the name.
 

Sandikan

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Yeah thats plain stupid, or relevant to an actual game
My old manager once tried a drill where two players would stand 30metres apart and sprint in as he'd boot it in the air.
That one scared me as it just asked for injury :lol:
 

Sandikan

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Just introduce helmets. Then we can increase heading

Also, more space for additional sponsors
A player at my boys Wycombe wore a helmet for a couple of months. He'd had 3 concussions in about 4 weeks so it was a real precautionary measure.
That was proper wipe outs though. Not just heading the ball.
 

Offside

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They will have head protection in a few years but how can they ban heading? That’s not possible...
 

Stack

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In your extensive reading of said studies has there been a percentage difference given in likelihood of getting dementia with heading footballs versus not?
Dont be a dick. Go do some research of your own. The fastest way people learn and retain knowledge is when they discover answers for themselves, there are a lot of studies available online regrading head injuries, delayed concussion and the impacts on the brain in a number of sports. There are new studies for football taking place that take time to complete because of the nature of the problem. Given the results from other sports studies I have no doubt the final conclusions will end up showing there is a problem in football. Its a simple matter of the nature of the game and the nature of the problem.
 

DomesticTadpole

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I heard on the radio the its to do with kinetic energy rather than the weight of the ball. She said that today's balls create up to 4 times the kinetic energy & that today's players are at greater risk. She was a daughter of a former England captain who died 5/10 years ago. Can't remember the name.
Jeff Astle's daughter is on a lot, her dad skill was heading the ball for WBA.