No More Headers: How U.S Soccer Is Trying To Make Youths Safer

fter a 15 month litigation process, U.S Soccer announced that a brand new series of initiatives which were designed to reduce the number of concussions soccer players suffered. This new initiative basically limits and bans heading for players under the age of 13.

The new protocol entails that children of 10 and under will be barred from heading during any official game sessions or tournaments within the country. Questions have been lauded to the administering committee on how these initiatives would be enforced in the youth level which is a widespread community. Others have mentioned that banning headers would force players to become more comfortable with their feet at a young age, which may not be a bad thing. The general consensus is that we will be seeing the improvement of the quality of players coming through the system the next few years.

Time Magazine reports that the new safety rules and guidelines is aimed at players ages 10 and younger, and players from 11- 13 years will face restrictions. U.S Soccer’s chief Medical officer George Chiampas said “What we’re establishing is creating parameters and guidelines with regards to the amount of exposure to head injuries.” Other possible changes will involve substitution rules for players who are suspected of having or showing signs of a concussion. These new rules were also developed because of parental concerns about negligence after nearly 50,000 soccer players sustained concussions in 2010.

This new initiative comes at a very pivotal time in sports medicine and history. NBC Sports reports that former U.S national team and Major League Soccer Striker Taylor Twellman, who saw his profession cut short from a series of concussions and post-concussion symptoms was one of the first notable figures in U.S soccer history to speak out and voice his approval of the new initiative. Since these new initiatives will apply to the United States Soccer Federation and Youth National Club Teams, soccer fans are unsure of whether this will drain the country of talent or make players less competitive in the international space.

Will this new initiative help or hinder U.S Soccer? I don’t think so. Putting our youth in a safe place to enjoy sporting events will eventually change how we think of health in athletics. Though European clubs and Youth Teams do not have header rules, this change could take on a global scale.

To learn more about the new initiatives to deal with concussions which stem from header goals, visit these articles by Time Magazine and NBC Sports