Player Welfare

There is a growing concern in relation to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and, in particular, its causal link with participation in contact sports.

Cogent evidence (arising from a spectrum of separate scientific sources) is mounting from around the world to suggest that heading footballs over a career can lead to long-term damage to the brain. The findings of our research carried out at UCD are consistent with this theory.

Football (soccer) is also different to other contact sports as players intentionally lead with their head to make contact with the ball. This situation presents a real and growing challenge to the beautiful game.

Children of all ages are continuing to endanger themselves and others due to the lack of EFFICIENT and SCIENTIFICALLY SAFETY-TESTED heading practice methods. Also, one might ask as a parent, “Am I comfortable allowing my son or daughter to challenge in the air with a child who has not practiced this valuable and often dangerous skill”, while always bearing in mind that the organ at the centre of this act is the brain – and that a child will be more vulnerable as the brain is merely at a developing stage.

Street football is a thing of the past, “headers and volleys” are gone. Most adolescents will only learn (or not learn) this skill through their club.