• STV
  • MySTV

SFA considering under-12 heading ban over dementia links

A ban on children under 12 heading the ball is to be considered by the SFA.

Dementia: SFA considering heading ban.
Dementia: SFA considering heading ban.

A ban on children under 12 heading the ball is to be considered by the Scottish Football Association after a report linked dementia and football.

The proposal comes less than a week after the publication of a Glasgow University study which found former professional players were three-and-a-half times more likely to die of degenerative brain disease.

With the findings coming out of data on former professional footballers in Scotland, the nation's governing body is looking to lead the way in Europe by safeguarding children.

SFA president Rod Petrie and vice-president Mike Mulraney will submit a number of proactive measures to the board for consideration, including a ban on heading for under-12s.

Other potential measures include tighter guidelines on heading practice, ensuring age-appropriate ball sizes are being used, and guidance to grassroots coaches.

Any steps would be taken with respect to the findings and with the medical experts closely involved, while also putting an emphasis on developing technique.

An SFA spokesperson said: "The new presidential team are determined to be proactive on such a serious issue affecting the national game and are prepared to offer a practical test case in Europe through a range of potential measures being implemented in Scotland.

"While the study says the findings can't automatically be applied to the grassroots game, they are absolutely clear that practical improvements can be implemented until research into the grassroots game is undertaken.

"This is not just about young people heading the ball in matches but taking steps to reduce repetitive heading practice in training. We are fortunate to have a world leading medical team at the Scottish FA led by Dr John MacLean and his guidance will be integral domestically but also within UEFA's Medical Committee.

"Scotland's concussion protocols have been adopted throughout Europe by UEFA and the presidential team will do all they can to support his expert advice on the matter and continue to lead the way on this subject."

The United States is the only country in the world which has a similar ban.

Children aged 10 and under are not allowed to head the ball in games or practice, while there are limits placed in training sessions for 11 to 13-year-olds.

The dementia report, released on Monday and commissioned by the Football Association and Professional Footballers' Association in England, assessed the medical records of 7,676 men who played professional football in Scotland and were born between 1900 and 1976.

Their records were matched against more than 23,000 individuals from the general population, with the study led by consultant neuropathologist Dr Willie Stewart of Glasgow University.

He found the risk ranged from a five-fold increase in Alzheimer's disease, through an approximately four-fold increase in motor neurone disease, to a two-fold increase in Parkinson's disease in former professional footballers compared to the general population.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.