Risk of mental illness from headers, directive to ban headers during training in Scotland : Football

Soccer players in Scotland are being banned from heading footballs during training the day before and after any match.

In addition, football clubs are being asked not to hold training sessions in which professional footballers practice heading more than once a week.

The new guidelines for football clubs in Scotland come in light of a study by the University of Glasgow which found that football players are three and a half times more likely to die from mental illness than the general population.

Experts believe that this may be related to the fact that professional footballers use their head repeatedly during the game and thus the impact of the football on the head also affects their brain.

Remember that the Scottish Football Association has already issued guidelines in this regard, according to which you cannot use more headers in the training of players under the age of 12.

In addition, Scotland was the first country in the world to adopt the rule of ‘put players out if in doubt’ in all sports, which means that if a player sustains any kind of head injury. And if he gets a concussion (dizziness or fainting for a while), he should be sent off the field.

Officials have consulted with 50 men’s and women’s football clubs in light of a Scottish Football Association review of headers ahead of the updated guidelines.

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Memory impairment

Dr John McLean has been associated with the Scottish Football Association as a medical expert for over 20 years and was among the experts who in 2019 commemorated former professional footballers in their games and later years. The relationship between frailty (dementia) was studied.

“Although the research is still ongoing, what we already know about heading and its effects on the brain is that if a player hits headers repeatedly (in a match), he has 24 to 48 Hours later, his memory lapses. In addition, blood samples taken immediately after the header showed a protein that is found in the human brain.

“We have taken the time (to issue these instructions) because we have tried our best to speak after consulting all parties,” Dr Maclean added.

“We wanted to get a good look at how much heading training the players were given during training before collecting the baseline data.”

“And then there was the consultation process with the parties, not only with the players from across Scotland but also with their managers and coaches.”

“Our aim was to look at this whole issue as a collective responsibility of all parties to ensure the health and well-being of the players.”

natural response

Julie Murray, a Scottish women’s club player, said that while she appreciated the recent guidelines, it was difficult to strike a balance as all teams practiced ‘set pieces’ the day before a match, meaning free-hits and free-kicks. Practice of corners etc. which includes the use of headers.’

“Of course, we cannot shy away from this research and its findings, but we will have to change the format of our weekly training.”

“But you also don’t want players to stop playing their natural game, headers are a natural thing in football.”

“There are a number of former players who unfortunately are now suffering from memory loss and other mental illnesses such as dementia and we believe this is because they overused headers during their careers.

Headers during the match

The SFA’s chief football officer, Andy Gould, said: “We already have a lot of data on headers during matches, but the latest research is valuable in that it allows us to It is known how the use of headers can be reduced during training.

“I am grateful to the clubs, managers and players for providing us with the information and their perspectives that have enabled us to make a better informed decision based on the data,” he says. As a result we are able to publish guidelines aimed at the safety and well-being of our players.’

Also read: Why does India object to Zakir Naik’s presence in Qatar during the FIFA World Cup?

In the same year, England’s Football Association also introduced guidelines for football clubs under which players were asked to hit a maximum of ten powerful headers a week during training.

It should be remembered that many great footballers of the past have lost their lives due to dementia in the past years. Among these players were Billy McNeill, the former captain of the Scottish club ‘Celtic’, and Jack Charlton, who led Anglade to victory in the World Cup.

Farhad Safi
Sharing insights and perspectives on the stories that matter.

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