Primary school children have been banned from heading football’s during training in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The Football Associations of each country announced the new ban on Monday. They have said a ‘graduated approach’ will be taken to heading during training for under-12s up to under-16s.
However, the ban does not apply to matches, due to the limited number of headers which occur in youth games.
The ban comes after recent studies revealed that former footballers were three-and-a-half times more likely to die from neurodegenerative diseases – compared to the general population of the same age.
The FA has said the decision was made to ‘mitigate against any potential risks.’
Dawn Astle has campaigned for restrictions concerning heading at all levels at the game and has welcomed the ban as an important first step for change. Her father, Jeff Astle, was a professional footballer who died in 2002. The coroner had ruled that repeated heading of a football caused his chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
She said: “We must take early steps to avoid exposing children’s brains to risk of trauma and by saying there’s no heading in training for primary school children is a really sensible way to make the game we all love safer for all those involved.”