By Ken Reed
There are growing concerns about brain injuries in the soccer community in England.
Recently, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) called for immediate heading restrictions in training sessions following an assessment of research into dementia and neurodegenerative diseases by its management committee.
“Science has been developing quickly in this area, and we need to make an urgent intervention based on the evidence that is available now,” said PFA chairman Ben Purkiss.
A University of Glasgow study found former male professional soccer players had a 3.5 times higher death rate from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s than the comparison group made up of men from the general population. The study had similar conclusions as studies looking at dementia and Alzheimer’s disease cases with former professional football players in the United States. NFL players suffer from Alzheimer’s at a 37 percent higher rate than the average male.
“There is a big issue here, and based on the increasing evidence available, it is clear we need to take immediate steps to monitor and reduce heading within training,” said Gordon Taylor, PFA chief executive officer.
Steps have been taken in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland to lessen the number of blows to the head youth soccer players take in practice sessions. Children up to the age of 12 are banned from heading a ball in practice sessions. There then will be a “graduated approach” to heading in practice for kids aged 12-15. For kids 16 and 17 heading is restricted to one practice session per week.
The new rules on heading for youth soccer players went into effect in January of this year.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
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Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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