Brain injury expert says children should be banned from doing this football move 1 month ago

Brain injury expert says children should be banned from doing this football move

Do you agree?

Could heading a ball in football cause permanent brain injury?

One brain injury expert thinks so and has gone so far as to say that children should be banned from heading the ball during football games.

Dr Bennet Omalu, who discovered the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has said that the common practice of heading in football is "dangerous" and it's "time for us to change our ways" when it comes to how we view it.

football soccer

I must admit I never considered it to be all that harmful and definitely not a danger to my child's health but speaking to Phil William's on BBC Radio 5 Live, the forensic pathologist and neuropathologist said;

"It does not make sense to control an object travelling at a high velocity with your head.I believe, eventually, at the professional level we need to restrict heading of the ball.It is dangerous."

When he puts it like that it does sound a bit mental to try and block a rapidly moving object with our heads.

The doctor first discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy after studying the brain of NFL player Mike Webster and since then has gone on to find it in the brains of a number of deceased NFL players.


Now Dr Omalu has set his sights on football this side of the pond and has warned parents that heading the ball could result in similar brain damage to that which the NFL players displayed.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live;

"The human brain floats like a balloon inside your skull so when you head the ball you suffer brain damage. I know this is difficult for many people but science evolves.We change with time. Society changes. It is time for us to change some of our ways."

After former England footballer Jeff Astle died in 2004 a coroner ruled his death was due to brain trauma caused by the heading of footballs during his 16-year career.

This week his daughter Dawn called for more investigation into the possible link between CTE and heading;

"This is fact now. We are not just assuming other players may have died of the same illness as Dad, this is now fact."

Having studied neurology in college I've always worried about my children becoming involved in rugby and contacts sports. How dangerous football could be had never crossed my mind.

I was only at a children's event recently where they had a competition to see who could head the ball the longest.

I was never much into football as a kid but I would often see my uncles or cousins tipping around a ball on their foreheads and never thought much of it.

When we consider how we shield our kids with helmets when they cycle or skateboard, why do we not do similar when they play sports? In North America most sports come with some kind of head safety gear so when will Ireland start to do the same?

With rugby, football and GAA there are many ways that our children could end up with head injuries that could lead to serious consequences down the line, and maybe it's time that we started putting steps into place to prevent it.