New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

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New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Royals and Racers » 26 Feb 2020 09:17

The Football Association [The FA] has today announced updated Heading Guidance for all age groups between Under 6 and Under 18, in association with the Irish and Scottish FAs.

The updated Heading Guidance, which will be introduced immediately, will provide grassroots Clubs, Coaches and Players With the recommended heading guidance for training sessions. The Guidance does not make any changes to the way matches are played.

Following the publication of The FA and PFA joint-funded FIELD study in October 2019, The FA established the independently-chaired Research Taskforce to guide on possible changes to heading coaching, review concussion management protocols, and advise on future research projects
Although there was no evidence in the FIELD study to suggest that heading the ball was the cause to the link with incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease, to mitigate against any potential risks, the updated Heading Guidance has been produced in parallel with UEFA’s Medical Committee, which is seeking to publish Europe-wide guidelines later this year. The Irish FA and the Scottish FA will also adopt the same Heading Guidance.

The updated Heading Guidance includes:

• Heading Guidance in training for all age groups between Under 6 and Under 18

• No heading in training in the foundation phase [primary school children]

• Graduated approach to heading training for children in the development phase between Under 12 to Under 16

• Required ball sizes for training and matches for each age group

• No changes to heading in matches, taking into consideration the limited number of headers in youth games

FA Chief Executive, Mark Bullingham, said: "This updated Heading Guidance is an evolution of our current guidelines and will help coaches and teachers to reduce and remove repetitive and unnecessary heading from youth football. Our research has shown that heading is rare in youth football matches, so this guidance is a responsible development to our grassroots coaching without impacting the enjoyment that children of all ages take from playing the game."
Irish FA Chief Executive, Patrick Nelson, said:"Our football committee has reviewed and approved the new guidelines. As an association we believe this is the right direction of travel and are confident it will be good for the game, and those who play it."

Scottish FA Chief Executive, Ian Maxwell, said: "While it is important to re-emphasise there is no research to suggest that heading in younger age groups was a contributory factor in the findings of the FIELD study into professional footballers, nevertheless Scottish football has a duty of care to young people, their parents and those responsible for their wellbeing throughout youth football.

"The updated guidelines are designed to help coaches remove repetitive and unnecessary heading from youth football in the earliest years, with a phased introduction at an age group considered most appropriate by our medical experts. It is important to reassure that heading is rare in youth football matches, but we are clear that the guidelines should mitigate any potential risks.

"I would like to thank our colleagues at the English FA for their collaboration in this process and UEFA’s Medical Committee for their guidance."

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by John Madejski's Wallet » 26 Feb 2020 11:41

Don't agree with it myself as my personal feeling is that the data is flawed. As it often is in such retrospective studies.
Totally making that up, so happy to be corrected


Surely one way to make sure you head the ball badly is to never practice how to do it properlyl?

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Old Man Andrews » 26 Feb 2020 12:06

It is a complete nonsense that will never ever be enforced properly and nor should it. Heading a ball safely should be taught to children from when they begin playing properly at 6 years of age.

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Sanguine » 26 Feb 2020 12:18

A perfectly sensible step to take. There's another about doing something 'properly', or rather trying to do something in the 'proper' way (whether its heading a football or anything else) that guards against related injury. The numbers are stark - 11% of the sample of former professional footballers died of dementia or related ailments; the figure for the control sample was 3%.
The study (named FIELD) didn't have the remit to examine why the incidence of dementia is higher in former footballers (who, separately actually had a longer life-span than the general population, presumably owing to general fitness) - it is one of the paper's recommendations that research is carried out into the likely causes of dementia in former players, but repeated heading the ball could be one of them.

Also to note that this applies to training only - it doesn't change the way that matches are played, and indeed will encourage younger players to keep the ball down and use their feet in training. It makes sense to safeguard kids.

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Old Man Andrews » 26 Feb 2020 12:29

You have clearly never ever played the game to any great degree or have any qualifications in coaching. Why don't we just ban children from playing football altogether then? A child could break their leg whilst running on the pitch.

Dementia is high in former footballers (ones in their 70's and 80's) due to the weight of the balls they used and the fact the balls used to soak up moisture to make them even heavier.


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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by 6ft Kerplunk » 26 Feb 2020 12:31

Jnr II has adopted this wholeheartedly, mainly because he's too scared to head the ball in case it hurts. He's also trying to make sure he doesn't get left foot AIDS.

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Sanguine » 26 Feb 2020 12:34

Old Man Andrews Sanguine in wet blanket shocker!

You have clearly never ever played the game to any great degree or have any qualifications in coaching. Why don't we just ban children from playing football altogether then? A child could break their leg whilst running on the pitch.

Dementia is high in former footballers (ones in their 70's and 80's) due to the weight of the balls they used and the fact the balls used to soak up moisture to make them even heavier.


It was noted on another thread that you tend to 'discuss' things like a 13 year old, and you've done it again here.

Firstly, concern for head injuries and considering player safety doesn't amount to being 'a wet blanket'. Second, noting that a study has specifically recommended research into the causes of dementia is sensible. Third, I've just broadly supported banning heading of the ball in training sessions for kids, not for all, and not in matches, which I wouldn't support and would change the game - this has nothing to do with removing all risk (so no idea what your childish and facetious point about broken legs was), but reducing a risk indicated by the prevalence of head injury in former players.

Neat edit, by the way. Do you ever think before you type?

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Old Man Andrews » 26 Feb 2020 12:40

Sanguine
Old Man Andrews Sanguine in wet blanket shocker!

You have clearly never ever played the game to any great degree or have any qualifications in coaching. Why don't we just ban children from playing football altogether then? A child could break their leg whilst running on the pitch.

Dementia is high in former footballers (ones in their 70's and 80's) due to the weight of the balls they used and the fact the balls used to soak up moisture to make them even heavier.


It was noted on another thread that you tend to 'discuss' things like a 13 year old, and you've done it again here.

Firstly, concern for head injuries and considering player safety doesn't amount to being 'a wet blanket'. Second, noting that a study has specifically recommended research into the causes of dementia is sensible. Third, I've just broadly supported banning heading of the ball in training sessions for kids, not for all, and not in matches, which I wouldn't support and would change the game - this has nothing to do with removing all risk (so no idea what your childish and facetious point about broken legs was), but reducing a risk indicated by the prevalence of head injury in former players.

Neat edit, by the way. Do you ever think before you type?

You're a massive wet blanket, yes. I removed it because I didn't want to be rude but seemingly you want me to be so I'll oblige.

If you're that concerned why do you not want heading to be banned completely in all levels of the game? You're that concerned apparently? You're more likely to head the ball in matches than in training so again why not ban it altogether?

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by URZZZZ » 26 Feb 2020 12:58

Old Man Andrews
Sanguine
Old Man Andrews Sanguine in wet blanket shocker!

You have clearly never ever played the game to any great degree or have any qualifications in coaching. Why don't we just ban children from playing football altogether then? A child could break their leg whilst running on the pitch.

Dementia is high in former footballers (ones in their 70's and 80's) due to the weight of the balls they used and the fact the balls used to soak up moisture to make them even heavier.


It was noted on another thread that you tend to 'discuss' things like a 13 year old, and you've done it again here.

Firstly, concern for head injuries and considering player safety doesn't amount to being 'a wet blanket'. Second, noting that a study has specifically recommended research into the causes of dementia is sensible. Third, I've just broadly supported banning heading of the ball in training sessions for kids, not for all, and not in matches, which I wouldn't support and would change the game - this has nothing to do with removing all risk (so no idea what your childish and facetious point about broken legs was), but reducing a risk indicated by the prevalence of head injury in former players.

Neat edit, by the way. Do you ever think before you type?

You're a massive wet blanket, yes. I removed it because I didn't want to be rude but seemingly you want me to be so I'll oblige.

If you're that concerned why do you not want heading to be banned completely in all levels of the game? You're that concerned apparently? You're more likely to head the ball in matches than in training so again why not ban it altogether?


At a young age, you want to encourage children to play it on the ground and avoid bad practices

There's no real need to practice heading the ball at that age, something that should be integrated once you move into 11 a side football


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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Old Man Andrews » 26 Feb 2020 13:04

URZZZZ
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Sanguine
It was noted on another thread that you tend to 'discuss' things like a 13 year old, and you've done it again here.

Firstly, concern for head injuries and considering player safety doesn't amount to being 'a wet blanket'. Second, noting that a study has specifically recommended research into the causes of dementia is sensible. Third, I've just broadly supported banning heading of the ball in training sessions for kids, not for all, and not in matches, which I wouldn't support and would change the game - this has nothing to do with removing all risk (so no idea what your childish and facetious point about broken legs was), but reducing a risk indicated by the prevalence of head injury in former players.

Neat edit, by the way. Do you ever think before you type?

You're a massive wet blanket, yes. I removed it because I didn't want to be rude but seemingly you want me to be so I'll oblige.

If you're that concerned why do you not want heading to be banned completely in all levels of the game? You're that concerned apparently? You're more likely to head the ball in matches than in training so again why not ban it altogether?


At a young age, you want to encourage children to play it on the ground and avoid bad practices

You do encourage it, you encourage it in training in a controlled enviroment. A football match isn't a controlled enviroment though, you cannot stick to an "under head height rule". We will end up with kids doing more damage to themselves in matches because they have no familiarity with heading a football.

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Sanguine » 26 Feb 2020 13:24

We don't know enough about the link to dementia yet, so a blanket ban (in say, training) at all levels would seem over the top. But given an apparent increase in incidence of the disease amongst people who have played the game professionally (i.e. every day for 20 years), it makes sense to at least take some stops to reduce risk for young players, not least given that their bodies and brains are still developing.

That doesn't make me a wet blanket. Do you realise you can disagree with someone without insulting them?

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Old Man Andrews » 26 Feb 2020 13:30

Sanguine We don't know enough about the link to dementia yet, so a blanket ban (in say, training) at all levels would seem over the top. But given an apparent increase in incidence of the disease amongst people who have played the game professionally (i.e. every day for 20 years), it makes sense to at least take some stops to reduce risk for young players, not least given that their bodies and brains are still developing.

That doesn't make me a wet blanket. Do you realise you can disagree with someone without insulting them?

But my point is it doesn't negate the risk because heading is still allowed in proper games. They either had to blanket ban it or allow it at all times perhaps with extra advice sent to clubs and coaches relating to the risks associated to heading.

I removed my insult, you then referenced it in your original reply. Wet blanket is hardly an insult is it? I'll rephrase, you're very overly cautious.

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Sanguine » 26 Feb 2020 13:33

Old Man Andrews But my point is it doesn't negate the risk because heading is still allowed in proper games. They either had to blanket ban it or allow it at all times perhaps with extra advice sent to clubs and coaches relating to the risks associated to heading.

I removed my insult, you then referenced it in your original reply. Wet blanket is hardly an insult is it? I'll rephrase, you're very overly cautious.


It isn't heading a ball at all that is supposed to cause long-term injury, it is the repetition that goes with heading a ball hundreds and thousands of times over a few years - same as injuries emerging after boxing careers, or recent higher incidences of head injuries emerging in former NFL players. If you remove the frequency of heading in training sessions you lower the overall volume impact, is the theory.

It's not about eliminating risk, it's about reducing it.

My point about the 'insult' was that, again, you are personalising something. Play the ball, not the man (and not with your head, for safety reasons).


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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by URZZZZ » 26 Feb 2020 13:35

Sanguine
Old Man Andrews But my point is it doesn't negate the risk because heading is still allowed in proper games. They either had to blanket ban it or allow it at all times perhaps with extra advice sent to clubs and coaches relating to the risks associated to heading.

I removed my insult, you then referenced it in your original reply. Wet blanket is hardly an insult is it? I'll rephrase, you're very overly cautious.


It isn't heading a ball at all that is supposed to cause long-term injury, it is the repetition that goes with heading a ball hundreds and thousands of times over a few years - same as injuries emerging after boxing careers, or recent higher incidences of head injuries emerging in former NFL players. If you remove the frequency of heading in training sessions you lower the overall volume impact, is the theory.

It's not about eliminating risk, it's about reducing it.

My point about the 'insult' was that, again, you are personalising something. Play the ball, not the man (and not with your head, for safety reasons).


Agreed

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Zip » 26 Feb 2020 13:41

I used to manage my son’s team at under 15 age group. My son has always headed anything and everything including goalkicks launched downfield from the opposing keeper.
In the end he had a concussion following a thumping header downfield. I refused to let him play for a couple of months and told him he had to tone it down.

He is now more circumspect but still heads the ball more than anyone else on the pitch and it worries me. It cannot be healthy heading a rock hard ball. That must have an impact upon the brain so I can well believe there is a higher incidence of dementia amongst former players.

So to restrict heading in training at youth level seems sensible to me.

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Hendo » 26 Feb 2020 13:45

Disappointed with the naming of the topic - could've been an opportunity for a good pun

"Heading in a new direction, or not" for example.

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by BR0B0T » 26 Feb 2020 16:03

John Madejski's Wallet Don't agree with it myself as my personal feeling is that the data is flawed. As it often is in such retrospective studies.
Totally making that up, so happy to be corrected


Surely one way to make sure you head the ball badly is to never practice how to do it properlyl?


<scorn>

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by John Madejski's Wallet » 27 Feb 2020 10:21

BR0B0T
John Madejski's Wallet Don't agree with it myself as my personal feeling is that the data is flawed. As it often is in such retrospective studies.
Totally making that up, so happy to be corrected


Surely one way to make sure you head the ball badly is to never practice how to do it properlyl?


<scorn>

Damn it was you I was hoping would hit up imright.com and put some detail in there. You love that sh't

My tuppence:
-The people in this study (which hasn't even thought about proving a link) grew up heading a ball that was a fukk of a lot different to the modern ones. Worry about apples, ban pears

Also how is this anything other than "footballers live longer, so die have higher rates of dementia"? Because they got dementia at exactly the same age normal folk get it. So asaik very different to the NFL players and boxers who get neurodegenerative stuff early due to impact

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by Sanguine » 27 Feb 2020 11:12

John Madejski's Wallet Worry about apples, ban pears



Well, not quite. It's 'worry about people having smashed their head repeatedly against apples, ban people smashing their head repeatedly against pears, apart from in competitive pear-smashing matches.'

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Re: New heading guidance for 6-18 year olds

by stealthpapes » 27 Feb 2020 14:13

My tuppence:
-The people in this study (which hasn't even thought about proving a link) grew up heading a ball that was a fukk of a lot different to the modern ones. Worry about apples, ban pears


doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1908483

Over a median of 18 years, 1180 former soccer players (15.4%) and 3807 controls (16.5%) died. All-cause mortality was lower among former players than among controls up to the age of 70 years and was higher thereafter. Mortality from ischemic heart disease was lower among former players than among controls (hazard ratio, 0.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.66 to 0.97; P=0.02), as was mortality from lung cancer (hazard ratio, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.40 to 0.70; P<0.001). Mortality with neurodegenerative disease listed as the primary cause was 1.7% among former soccer players and 0.5% among controls (subhazard ratio [the hazard ratio adjusted for competing risks of death from ischemic heart disease and death from any cancer], 3.45; 95% CI, 2.11 to 5.62; P<0.001). Among former players, mortality with neurodegenerative disease listed as the primary or a contributory cause on the death certificate varied according to disease subtype and was highest among those with Alzheimer’s disease (hazard ratio [former players vs. controls], 5.07; 95% CI, 2.92 to 8.82; P<0.001) and lowest among those with Parkinson’s disease (hazard ratio, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.17 to 3.96; P=0.01). Dementia-related medications were prescribed more frequently to former players than to controls (odds ratio, 4.90; 95% CI, 3.81 to 6.31; P<0.001). Mortality with neurodegenerative disease listed as the primary or a contributory cause did not differ significantly between goalkeepers and outfield players (hazard ratio, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.43 to 1.24; P=0.24), but dementia-related medications were prescribed less frequently to goalkeepers (odds ratio, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.89; P=0.02).


Trying to find the age ranges.

well, here we go, partial data.

Persons born before January 1, 1977, were eligible for inclusion in the study.


So the youngest players would have been playing from say, 1995 onwards and only a few years older than JMW and myself. That's certainly not the heavy ball conditions some are citing.

Let's go further down this avenue for a second. Link here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_F ... atch_balls is a list of matchballs from World Cups. The change from old school to new is over by 1970. So a player at the peak of his career in 1970 would have been born around 1945 to 1950. I can't see a breakdown of their 7000+ players by age, but remember they're looking at a list that includes players who have only just retired. Of that cohort, realistically only the very oldest would have played football with the heavier balls.

We compared the outcomes in this cohort with those of matched controls from the general population


Also, the controls are matched - for each footballer, they've generated a profile of age and a few other stats, so genuine effort to compare apples with apples in the group. That's properly done.

Last point: the goalkeeper-player comparison strikes me as a crucial datum.

In any case,

*training kids on smaller pitches, and to keep the ball on the floor, is a positive.
*integrating heading as they move to bigger pitches is sensible.
*we have isolated cases of players suffering neurological damage even now - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Doyle

Republic of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle has retired because of "repeated headaches" caused by heading the ball.

The 34-year-old forward, who had been playing for American Major League Soccer side Colorado Rapids, won 63 caps for his country.

Doyle said he wanted "to avoid the possibility of these symptoms becoming more serious and permanent".

The ex-Reading and Wolves player made the decision having suffered "numerous" concussions over his 15-year career.

"This year it has been clear to me that heading the ball was becoming problematic and causing me to have repeated headaches,"

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