Football is the most popular sport in the world. It is played by amateurs and professionals alike, around the world. It has been proven to benefit daily life, and as a fourteen-year-old boy myself, I predominantly agree football helps me improve strength, mood, cardiovascular fitness and helps with my thought process and mental performance. However, one questionable aspect of the game is heading a ball threatening to young children? Ryan Mason an ex- Hull city and Tottenham Hotspur player was forced to retire from the sport due to obtaining a fractured skull in February from an arduous challenge playing against Chelsea. A new study has shown the action of heading a ball is more likely to result in concussions than any other head impacts during a game of football, including collisions with an elbows, heads and even goal posts.

According, to Dr Bennet Omalu, repetitive heading of a ball can cause unfavourable side effects, for example, head trauma which could contribute to a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  CTE is a progressive brain condition which is believed to be caused by resulted blows to the head. Moreover, when someone receives a significant bang to the head, the brain is shaken and crashes against the inside of our skulls. This primarily results in the nerves and structures in our brains to be changed, which may mean messages aren’t sent around the brain in the right way. In addition, a football weighs almost half a kilogram and can approximately hit a players head at a tremendous speed (128 km/h) which could generate as much power as 100 to 150 times the force of gravity. When a ball strikes the head, the kinetic energy is transmitted to the brain floating within the skull cavity, causing it to bounce against the skull’s back wall, which causes bruising.

Research from Glasgow University (funded by the FA) shows footballers are three and a half times more likely to die from dementia compared to an average man. The FA chairman Greg Dyke will present the findings in Zurich to a technical meeting of IFAB, the game’s law-makers, to try quicken along the introduction of concussion substitutes within ‘the beautiful game’.

To conclude, an alternative to heading could be proposed to coaches, which can help them limit repetitive heading practice and using suitable balls for younger people such as sponge balls. In addition, the United Kingdom should be influenced by the United states of America as they have already implemented a rule which prevents children aged ten and under to header a football in games or practices. While, there are limits to the amount of heading practice for 11 to 13 year olds.