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Soccer Program Bans Heading The Ball

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WFSB News, Reporting, Courtesy CNN

WINDSOR, Connecticut — A local soccer program is banning its players from heading the ball during game play due to increased concerns over head injuries.

Soccer Shots Connecticut teaches children ages 3 to 8 about the game of soccer and allows them the chance to play competitive games and learn basic skills.

Director Shannon Perry said the program recently banned heading the ball from games after learning about the dangers of the action. The maneuver is not even taught by the program, he added.

“We’re just not doing heading,” Perry said. “We think with kids younger than 10 years old, there is no reason to put them that risk.”

During game play, players will often use their head to control the soccer ball while preventing their hands from touching it. Officials are worried about the possibility of a young child getting a traumatic brain injury or suffering a concussion while performing the maneuver.

“You don’t have to be a great header to be a great soccer player,” Perry said. “There are a lot of great headers that aren’t great soccer players.”

Perry said young children are not often able to get the ball into the air, thus why the heading ban does not affect game play as often on the younger levels.

“Most of soccer is played with the feet,” Perry said.

Perry added when children get older heading the ball becomes more important and it will probably be kept at the middle and high school levels.

“You have to be able to head the ball with the right technique and right part of the head,” he said.