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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 29933

League Specific 11/17/2015

RE: Other

Paul of hartford, CT USA asks...

When the 'no heading' rule goes into effect for the younger ages, what is the resulting call if a player heads the ball during a game? Is it treated like a handling call? Will the offense be determined similarly? (ie. ball-to-head vs. head-to-ball)

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

We don't know. USSF will be making specific recommendations to youth leagues next month, and we should have an answer when it publishes details about the new program.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
If I was guessing I would say that it might be treated like the way No Slide Tackle rule at younger age groups is implemented which is that any slide tackle will be immediately called as a foul and results in an indirect free kick. The player is then instructed by the referee and coach that heading can be dangerous and not allowed.
I would also suggest that players will get hit with the ball accidentally and that is just part of the game with no offence called. It would be nigh impossible to do anything else
Until the Federation publishes the details everything is just speculation.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Paul,
if we truly grasp the reasoning of the recent decisions to ban heading at he younger ages it should really apply to all ages! It is not just the heading of the ball that can injure the child but the collisions in which players come together creating head injuries and concussions! The USA is a very litigious country and holding people to blame for injuries that occur in sports has been an ongoing legal battle. I have to wonder if the trickle down will apply to FIFA itself and the world in general?

Although I hold the opinion that boxing, football is far more dangerous than soccer as is baseball for head injuries resulting in death by a ball. There are very few injuries to youth that are concussively based just because a player occasionally nods a ball past an opponent. It is the more dynamic repeated use of the head on the the long clearance off a high punt that is played with the head before it hits the ground or a fast moving water logged ball across the goal that is either headed into goal or away from goal. > However the key part of the equation., where the real dangers lie when it comes to soccer and heading. The entire point of this action is to raise awareness of the concussions occurring and the secondary damage of allowing repeated knocks even of a smaller nature. The swelling of the brain, subdural hematomas broken or burst blood vessels created by head trauma are no laughing matter. The evidence shows that those heading the ball are much more likely to suffer brain damage than players who don't frequently head the ball. And of course it makes sense that being hit in the head repeatedly by a hard, fast-moving object for many years would be dangerous and cause long-term problems.

.Perhaps one idea on heading is to lay claim it is PIADM, awarding an INDFK . I see few youth at the mini age actually engage in heading but age 8 to 11 some are very determined if uncoordinated and it will interesting to see if they totally ban any heading or allow a bounce or a controlled action to then head as they progress or what age level is the ban applied to but then removed? I think your version of that a ball will strike the face or head accidently is a very good addendum that will be carved into a by law.

What is necessary is those who are being held legally responsible for the safety of those playing are going to have to address the basic fact ANY head collision be it head to head, arm to head ,foot to head, or even ball to head means ENFORCING some restriction for re entering the field to play on the idea that something might be wrong!

If you watch these videos you can see it is the collisions trying to head the ball more so than the ball but no one should worry that preventing kids or not teaching kids at the youth level to head the ball properly will affect their heading abilities at he World cup later in life. I do see a few more deliberate handlings though when a ball is at head height rather than ducking out of the way or chesting the ball gets you a snoot full!
header attempt gone wrong
header attempt gone wrong
elbows cause far more issues

I have always believed there should be NO keepers in mini sided youth matches until u-12. My concern for safety is the abilities to become a good keeper are not muscle memory ingrained at the age 5 to 11 year old level to develop good habits that are much different than any good habit a regular player can achieve but start more so at the preteen. I hold that teaching players to defend a goal without the use their hands will serve them in greater stead later. If we are to go the route of deciding that heading a ball is an unsafe tactic, how do we justify youth throwing themselves in front of a ball to save as a keeper?

Note the excellent likely no impact use of the header but look at the result to the keeper? foot /knee into head

Now if we BAN heading at a lower age, truly at the u6 to u8 level I rarely see heading among the bumble bee flight mythology so why is u-10 the cut out? why not u-12? I personally see more mistimed tackles , full on face splats at this age then ANY other? Partly because this seems when the competitive juices really seem to get going in sports tied in with the body growing at a fantastic rate.

Strictly an observation not a scientific study but as one has already pointed out, we see for ourselves over time and few here are not intelligent enough to formulate some solid evidence to support or sustain an opinion. What if age should NOT be the determining factor but size, strength, motor skills?
There are always exceptions to the general population

Could this be the way we ALLOW headers at youth? cute kid if a bit precocious

the juggling idea is just an idea to allow headers! The ball must FIRST be controlled by ANOTHER body part? I thought about bounces but as MOST header injuries are from two opposing players TRYING to head the same ball perhaps not? So what SHOULD the program be?

A COMPLETE ban then restart as if they are adults which frankly scares the bejezus out of me . A gradual plan to reintroduce heading, but how to teach it? We already have millions of kids floundering away with little skill or marginal coordination or talent. The elite levels get the BEST training how do we deal with the recreational ? Referee training to recognize the cheap head shots particularly shoulder and elbows ?

The key to all this is the concussion material and how to not cave when a player who spent the entire year getting to the final game gets a knock to the head, is a bit groggy and we say sorry. you need to be substituted. For the Mom and Dad Coach or team mates not to go ballistic when the we hold up the hand and say no, you cannot renter. 'You are Not a doctor!' I know because I have had it screamed at me! I refused to referee a certain association for the attitudes and sheer ignorance expressed as to my motives! Anyone out there have any thoughts as to what is required?


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