Dangerous blow to brain: headball under criticism

Dangerous blow to brain: headball under criticism

If you play ball with your head often in football, you can damage your brain in the long run – many studies have now indicated this. Accordingly, header training is not permitted for children under ten years long in the United States. A year ago, football associations in England, Scotland and Ireland followed suit and decided to ban headers in training with children under 12 years old. In addition, headers should only be trained rarely since U12 and as low as possible for U18. Headers are still allowed in the game. The reason for implementing these rules is an investigation from the year 2019, which was commissioned by the English Federation (FA) and the Players Union PFA.


As a result, professional footballers were 3.5 times more likely to die of degenerative brain disease than the UK population. As a result, many doctors welcome the new regulation of the FA, because if the ball reaches a speed of 100 kilometers per hour, the head ball has an impact of about 400 kilograms on the forehead.

In addition, the recommended health limit by doctors of about 900 headers per year is often significantly higher in youth football. And according to Inga Koarte, who has been studying the effect of headers on the minds of young footballers since 2012, it is not without results. “Our and other studies suggest that headball can have a negative impact on brain development and performance – and that it may also have a relationship with long-term damage to the brain,” says professor of neuroscience at the University of Munich. .

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Ingo Helmich from the Neurological Department of Dr. Sport University Cologne. “There is greater certainty that headball games have a negative impact on cognitive health.” The findings which the DFB has also registered, but unlike England, do not depend on the ban. National team doctor Tim Meyer explains, “I think the scientific basis for the ban is currently too thin, given some headers in children’s soccer.”

Instead, the DFB recommends that you begin training with your header only after the age of 13. “In addition, new forms of children’s play in football alleviate the situation,” he says. These mainly include small team sizes and small playing fields. In addition, the teasing and kick will be overcome, “so that everything is ready for dribbling and flat passes, not on flanks and headers,” Meyer said. In an interview with PAZ, they reveal how Piener’s young instructors deal with the subject.

Kiriyakos Aslanidis (Base Coordinator at DFB): “In my years of coaching, I almost never coached headers with children under 12 or 13 years old. Most sporadically in the hall, but then I always at the right weight. Note, that light balls were taken – and the duration and number of repetitions were kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, with the little ones, the right balls are not taken often, but are very heavy – this problem sometimes occurs in the game. In order to exclude health risks, headball training should also be actually banned among the younger generation in Germany. Because one recommendation only applies to 50 to 60 percent of the people. Others do not follow it. , Because on the one hand, they themselves are not convinced of it or the tools do not allow it. Ultimately a lot depends on the coach. If he has coached the headers often in his history, chances are high that he He will do the same with his team as he tells himself that it did him no harm. And there are some coaches whose opinion Is that you have to practice the header at an early age because otherwise the players will face difficulties later. The coordinating aspects and jumping power can also be trained differently – and when players are fully developed, you add headers. ”

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Marco Goyer (Youth Leader in Armenia Vohram): “Headers don’t play a role in training for us and that includes e-juniors – we’ve written this into our concept. Over the years, our teams shouldn’t play outside and don’t cross over Should, rather the passing game is in the foreground. We don’t restrict headers, but we don’t explicitly train them. Also because we know it’s not good for kids – despite light balls. We only D wants to introduce the boys to the headers from the youngsters as soon as possible. Because we are all aware of the consequences of the headers. And when you know what the long-term loss in American football is, it is clear that hitting on the head – regardless Whether it is from boxing or ten hard balls – is not beneficial. And so I would intervene if I see a coach with us training the headers for the F-juniors. However, I consider the ban on headers to be too harsh. The latest. It is important to keep the trainers up to date with the training principle. Jhadar is training – and then you don’t even need to talk about the ban, because such a subject will then take care of itself. “

Christian Menzel (Instructor of the TSV Marathon Peine, previously worked full-time in the youth division of Eintracht Braunschweig for eight years): ‚ÄúThere are age groups where the header game should never be coached with the ball. But when we talk about development processes, it is important to properly package header training for each age group. The question is when are the physical and mental prerequisites available for children to learn the technical aspects – and this is the situation in the older e-youth category. It is therefore recommended that the original shape of the head ball be trained with light balls. On the other hand, even young children do not learn such a thing, especially since the header is also the most demanding technique in football. I can still practice it in F-youth, for example with balloons. However, I doubt if the ban on headers makes any sense. The main thing is to educate the trainers. In any case, the question for me is whether the F, E and D youth have to undergo specific technical training? I do not think. But if they are to do so, the training must certainly be age-friendly and designed in such a way that there is no harm. “

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