Sports Medicine Expert Weighs In On Young Athletes’ Soccer “Heading”
A University of Connecticut sports medicine specialist says it’s not a bad idea to ban “heading” by the youngest soccer players, because it gives them time to learn other ball-handling skills.
Dr. Thomas Trojian says while he’s not sure the ban on using the head to bounce the ball instituted by the “Soccer Shots” program for its two- to ten-year old players is necessary — but says it’s probably better for younger players to concentrate on other game skills.
Dr. Trojian says there is no correlation between intentional heading and concussion in older players, at the middle school, high school and college level. He says heading is a major part of the game of soccer and proper technique should be taught to the older players.
“I think I agree with the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association. . . that starting at age ten is a good age to start teaching purposful heading of the soccer ball.”
As for the younger players: “We don’t know in that age group whether heading is dangerous or not dangerous, but we do know that heading at the younger age, like two to eight and less than ten is not a common situation. By working on ball skills, with dribbling, it’s not a bad thing.”