Heading the day before and after matches is banned by the Scottish Football Association

Heading the day before and after matches is banned by the Scottish Football Association

Heading the day before and after matches is banned by the Scottish Football Association

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Heading is allowed in Scottish League matches, but not the day before and after the match

In professional football in Scotland it is illegal to head the ball “in training” the day before and after a match.

Clubs have been asked to limit header training to one session per week.

The new instructions come after research from Glasgow University showed former footballers are three and a half times more likely to die from brain disease.

Experts believe it could have something to do with the ball’s repeated header.

The Scottish Football Association already has regulations restricting headers, with a ban on training for children under the age of 12.

Scotland was also the first country in the world to introduce uniform guidelines for concussion awareness across all sports with the ‘If in Doubt Move Out’ campaign.

The new guidelines come into effect after consultations with the 50 playing clubs – men and women – in Scotland and polls by the Scottish Football Association on header odds.

Clubs are also required to monitor header frequency in training to reduce overall header load.

Bad memory

A field study conducted in 2019 revealed the link between dementia and past football matches.

dr John McLean, a Scottish Football Association doctor who has been involved in the study for more than 20 years, says: “As research advances, what we already know about hits to the head and their effects on the brain is interpretive , pointing out that there is a measurable memory impairment that lasts 24 to 48 hours after a series of headers, and that brain-related proteins can be detected in blood samples shortly after the header.

“Also, changes in the brain scans of soccer players have been found that may be linked to headers. Therefore, the goal is to reduce any potential cumulative effects of headers by reducing overall exposure to that action in training,” McClain added.

The new guidelines mean a change in many training routines, which include standard drills the day before a game.

dr Maclean said: “We took the time to do this because we really wanted to look at player involvement in football. We wanted to quantify the number of headers in training to get a basic idea.”

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The Scottish Football Association previously banned players under the age of 12 from heading the ball in training

“And then there was the process of working with players through the Professional Football Association in Scotland and also with clubs and coaches through the Scottish Football Association. It’s about collective responsibility and protecting the health and well-being of players.”

head blows While matches

Scottish Football Association Chief Football Officer Andy Gould said there was already a significant amount of data on in-game headers.

But he said the latest research was “invaluable in understanding the impact of headshots in the training environment.”

“I am grateful to the clubs, managers and players for providing us with the information and perspective needed to facilitate an informed, data-driven discussion that resulted in the release of guidelines to protect the safety and well-being of our Player peaked.” he added.

And earlier this year, the Football Association of England introduced guidelines for clubs to limit players to ten high-impact headers a week during training.

A number of high-profile ex-footballers have died from dementia in recent years, including former Celtic captain Billy McNeill and former England world champion and Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton.


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