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Your child dribbles dexterously to the contrary, passes the ball to his partner, moves quickly towards the opposite goal, his partner returns the ball, swings it so that he can shoot with his head and ... goooooool! How many parents have seen this scene at their children's soccer games?
Well, parents in the United States cannot see this type of goal, not the header, if their child is under 10 years old. The reason, a new regulation imposed by the US Soccer Federation in 2016, after a trial that lasted almost 15 months. We explain why they decided to ban children from heading the ball in soccer in the United States.
This surprising regulation affects national children's soccer teams and teams regulated by the North American Soccer Federation. For the rest of the teams, it is only abouta recommendation. But ... why did you decide to prohibit children under 10 from kicking the ball head-on? The reason: avoid injuries and concussions in children.
According to a lawsuit brought by parents and American soccer players against FIFA, US Soccer, and the Youth Soccer Organization, nearly 50,000 high school players suffered concussions to the head in a single year. A much higher number than the head injuries generated in other sports such as baseball or basketball. The lawsuit against FIFA was unsuccessful, but the one filed against the American Football Federation did.
The main risk of concussions in children, according to the studies of a large number of neurologists around the world, is that if they occur repeatedly, they can lead to a chronic traumatic encephalopathy, an ailment that eventually causes progressive loss of memory and some cognitive functions. It can also cause depression, insomnia, or anxiety.
Many neurosurgeons they would extend this recommendation to 12-13 years. According to many experts, hitting the ball with the head in the first 12-13 years of life can cause intellectual and growth problems in children. But science has also shown that the impact is greater in the case of girls due to their physical constitution.
The recommendation of neurosurgeons to avoid this is to try to avoid heading in soccer in children up to 12 or 13 years of age and use head protection systems.
No one doubts the many benefits of soccer for children. But like all sports, it also has its risks. Among them:
- Repeated injuries. Breakage of a bone, especially in the legs.
- Repetition sprains.
- Concussions to the head.
However, we should not focus only on risks, but assess the amount of benefits that soccer brings to children. Among them:
- They learn to play as a team. They develop social and cooperation skills.
- It is a fantastic sport to fight against childhood obesity.
- They develop a greater tolerance towards frustration.
- They will learn to win and lose.
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