Hello LA Premier FC Families,
We wanted to share some recent updates on a hot topic in soccer, heading safety, from our friends at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Sports Medicine Program.
Heading, a tool in soccer to control or redirect the flight of the ball, is also the riskiest part of soccer when it comes to head injuries. Most head injuries are not due to head-ball contact, but to athlete-to-athlete contact duringheading.
NEW Heading restrictions mandated by U.S. Soccer Federation
- Heading is NOT permitted during ANY practices or games for athletes less than 10 years old!
- Heading is LIMITED during training sessions for athletes 11-13 years old.
Ways to stay safe
- Help players strengthen their heading musculature. Begin heading practice with a lightweight spherical object like a balloon, and work up from there:
- Sponge (NERF™-type) ball
- Play ball (The soft, air-filled balls sold from big bins in grocery, drug and toy stores)
- Partially deflated soccer ball
- Properly inflated, appropriately-sized soccer ball
- Do not force young athletes to head the ball, and avoid excess heading training in practices.
- Teach good heading technique:
- Eyes open
- Dynamic strike
- Moving toward the ball
- Bending at waist
- Choose the right ball
- Decrease air pressure
- Stitched is better than thermal molded
- Correct size is important!
- Headgear for soccer is an impact-absorbing foam layer that may decrease head-to-hard surface impacts. Some studies demonstrate a possibledecreased risk of concussion. However, headgear may provide a false sense of security and promote more aggressive play, or make players more of a target by others. Additionally, headgear increases head mass, which can actually increase propensity for concussion.
Stay safe and keep your athletes in the game!
The LA Premier FC Team