Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Nov. 12, 2015 — An unscientific attack on soccer

A few days ago, the United States Soccer Federation agreed to new rules in its youth soccer system to limit or outright ban the heading of a soccer ball during play.

The strictures on heading would be on players under the age of 10, with limits gradually being reduced until the age of 13, but only if the players were in a team or league which is under the aegis of U.S. Soccer.

Looking at the science of the problem, the possibility of closed-head injuries or concussions whilst heading the ball are, frankly, extremely slim. A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that only 4.7% of concussions for male youth soccer players were as a result of heading the ball; and only 8.2% of girls’ soccer concussions from headers.

Like eye injuries in field hockey and headwear in lacrosse, the header ban is a solution in search of a problem.

As one person posited on social media, the header ban could very well lead to a U.S. national team that could one day be unable to compete because of their lack of training in proper heading of a soccer ball.

And I would tend to agree.


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