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U.S. Soccer bans Heading from Youth Games – SportsUntapped.com
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Added November 17th, 2015 by Ian

U.S. Soccer bans Heading from Youth Games
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U.S. Soccer doesn’t want kids using their heads anymore during games as a way to protect them against concussions. The governing body of soccer in America recently banned heading from the sport for all participants in organized leagues until they reach the age of 11. The U.S. Soccer organization was recently taken to court via a class action lawsuit from players and parents in California which claimed it was negligent when it came to the safety of young players. The suit has now been settled, but part of that settlement will see the organization introduce new restrictions and protocols regarding concussion.

However, U.S. Soccer claimed the new programs were going to be introduced anyway, regardless of the lawsuit and settlement.
The new rules state that all players up to and including the age of 10 won’t be allowed to head the ball during games and practices from now on. Players between the ages of 11 and 13 will be able to use their heads in matches, but not in training and practice sessions. Of course, this will change the way the game is played, but it likely won’t have a dramatic effect on it since most children of that age aren’t overly skilled at heading the ball. Some experts feel young American players will obviously be at a disadvantage though if they decide to try to make a career out of the sport.

Heading the ball is definitely an integral part of the international game, but American youths will basically be on a level playing field when competing against each other. They will be at a huge disadvantage when it comes to international tournaments though. Also, it’s not clear if foreign teams will have to adhere to the new rules if they visit the U.S. to compete in tournaments. Some concussion experts in the U.S. say they’re not really worried about young players heading the ball. Instead, they’re worried that players could clash heads when competing for a ball.

Head to head collisions often result in concussions and they can also be caused if a player falls to the ground after colliding with an opponent. The California lawsuit also named FIFA and the American Youth Soccer Organization in it. Reports stated that 50,000 high school soccer players in America suffered concussions in 2010, which was more than athletes in softball, baseball, wrestling, and basketball combined. Those who support the new regulations believe the sport will now become safer for children to play and it may result in more skilled players since the will be forced to use their feet more. Only time will tell though.

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