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No heading footballs, warns expert

The debate over the damage inflicted by heading a football took another turn on Wednesday as a leading expert in brain injuries said children under the age of 18 should not be allowed to.

Doctor Bennett Omalu, who was the first specialist to discover how American footballers were affected by the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), told the BBC he realised his remarks might jar with some people but that society was evolving. “No child under the age of 18 should be heading the ball in soccer,” said the 49-year-old Nigeria-born naturalised American. Kids under the age of 12 to 14 should play a less contact form of soccer which we should develop for them. Kids between 12 and 18 can play but should not head the ball. I know this is difficult for many people but science evolves. We change with time. Society changes. It is time for us to change some of our ways. It does not make sense to control an object travelling at a high velocity with your head,” he said. I believe, eventually, at the professional level we need to restrict heading of the ball. It is dangerous.”AFP

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