Heading 'a factor' in player's death

Part-Timer

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Not before time. The PFA have been foot-dragging for far too long on this matter.

I was looking at some figures for ex-footballers with dementia recently and, on the face of it, they are damning. I wondered at the time if anyone had looked into a subset of players, namely goalkeepers, to see if they suffered to the same degree. Whilst obviously they are prone to head contact injuries as much as, or possibly more than, other players, clearly they don't head the ball anywhere near as often, If the occurrence of dementia in ex-goalkeepers is significantly less than outfield players that would strongly suggest a link with heading the ball.
 

Chris1963

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Surely the obvious solution is for footballers to wear protective head gear, as some rugby players do. I don't think there is anything in the rules that prohibit this.
 

Stoodley Pike

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I'm not sure the wearing of helmets is an "obvious" solution. Despite the admittedly far from widespread wearing of helmets in the rugby codes, both league and union have a problem with brain injury diseases, notably concussion (and worse). The evidence is growing and overwhelming.

There is a strand of thought suggesting the wearing of helmets actually increases risk. Gridiron and amateur boxing, for example, are two sports for which the wearing of helmets is compulsory yet brain injury disease outcomes in both is well known.

I like Part-Timer's suggestion of examining goalkeepers, as a sub-set. Worth a try, surely?

I chose to not have children but, if I had any, given the evidence available, would I discourage them from taking up a contact sport? Apparently, and I appreciate the plural of anecdote is not data, increasing numbers of parents are doing exactly that.
 

Chris1963

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I wasn't thinking of helmets of the sort worn in gridiron, rather the padded type which would not hurt opposing players.
 

Hoddy1.

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Can see them being padded with something that would aid heading ability.
 

Stoodley Pike

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I wasn't thinking of helmets of the sort worn in gridiron, rather the padded type which would not hurt opposing players.
I appreciate that. Helmets worn in amateur boxing and both rugby codes are of the padded type. The jury is out on how effective they are at preventing brain/head injuries. Let's face it, many of those who do wear helmets in league or union are trying to avoid cosmetic damage to their ears. Little else!
 

Chris1963

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Can see them being padded with something that would aid heading ability.
Yes, that's probably why they haven't been adopted. Of course, it is the same for both teams and it should be up to the individual player.
 

Climate Change

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I chose to not have children but, if I had any, given the evidence available, would I discourage them from taking up a contact sport?
Not just contact sports.

Table Tennis. RSI
Tiddlywinks. Danger of eye injury at amateur level.
Beach Volleyball. Sand in your cracks causing very sore rashes and possible scepticemia.
Cricket, golf and baseball. Balls are killers.
Marbles. Danger of swallowing and choking.


Thankfully, they have banned conkers in schools.
 

Part-Timer

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There is a strand of thought suggesting the wearing of helmets actually increases risk. Gridiron and amateur boxing, for example, are two sports for which the wearing of helmets is compulsory yet brain injury disease outcomes in both is well known.
There is little doubt that the number of cricketers struck on the head since the introduction of helmets has increased. There are a number of factors: increased target (for want of a better word) area; change of technique - previously it was all about avoidance, now the fear factor has lessened and players get into line more and play forward more; tailenders no longer protected by the 'fast bowlers union'.

Of course in cricket the problem is not repeated, concussive blows but the threat of one, deadly blow. As long as the helmet protects against the latter, an increase to a still small number of the former is acceptable.
 

Climate Change

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I was looking at some figures for ex-footballers with dementia recently and, on the face of it, they are damning.
Geoff Hurst thinks the way they used to train for heading a ball had more of an impact than actual match day. Plus, the balls nowadays are how much lighter?
 

leohoenig

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Geoff Hurst thinks the way they used to train for heading a ball had more of an impact than actual match day. Plus, the balls nowadays are how much lighter?
These factors need to be investigated. Also while the ball may be lighter, can it travel faster, meaning that the force the ball applies to the head is not reduced
 

Tykeoldboy

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Way back when I was a kid, footballs either had a hard plastic coating or they where leather that soaked up the water like a sponge. You tried to avoid heading a wet heavy football, kicking one was hard enough. I haven't headed a modern football but I will assume that they are considerably lighter, water repellent and are easier on the head. Any kid under 12 shouldn't be heading a leather football anyway, they should be playing with a plastic ball
 

The Don

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Plus, the balls nowadays are how much lighter?
I didn't think the weight of the ball (at the start of the game) had changed since those days. In old money it had to be between 14 and 16 ounces.
It's true that the old leather balls soaked up moisture and made them heavier during the game but the initial weight was as stated.

Perhaps outlawing the ball above head height would solve the heading problem. I can't see it happening except possibly in children's football.
 

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