Wahoo! At long last, in amongst lawsuits and plenty of passionate discussion, the United States Soccer Federation has announced new safety regulations that will help protect the brains of our youngest generation of players. If you've been disconnected from recent news, there's been growing concern over head injuries in contact sports, from the youth level all the way up to professionals. Although many may identify football as the major sport that needs help with concussion protocol, soccer has been gaining ground quickly with a growing need for a solution.
These new rules will prohibit players aged 10 and under from heading the ball entirely and will help cut down practice headers for those 11 to 13 years old. Now, the first reaction to this may honestly be vehement shock -- in a sport in which a competitor cannot use their arms and hands, how can they possibly take away one of their resources for trapping and control? But, at the end of the day, this isn't eliminating headers from the sport forever, just for those at ages in which their brains are still developing. Doing whatever we can to minimize trauma in these young, growing children is an absolute best case scenario for not only our sport, but for those humans as well.
Although these things don't fix issues like concussion protocol, we applaud US Soccer for taking the sport to new and exciting places -- we can't to see what comes next!
The New York Times -- U.S. Soccer, Resolving Lawsuit, Will Limit Headers for Youth Players