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Football: Heading no longer implemented during training sessions
March 12, 2020

Rydal Penrhos Prep School has taken pro-active measures following a recent Football Association ruling regarding a serious mental health concern.

The school will no longer implement heading drills during football training sessions on the back of the FA’s decision to impose a ban throughout primary schools in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Prep School head Lucy Davies, said: “Rydal Penrhos always carefully considers the latest medical research surrounding the teaching of school sports.

“Taking this step won’t compromise our high competitive standards but it will ensure that our boys and girls are training in the safest way possible.”

The new ruling comes after research carried out by Glasgow University showed former footballers were three-and-a-half times more likely to die from brain disease.

There was no evidence in the study that linked incidences of the disease with heading the ball, but the FA said the new guidance is to “mitigate against any potential risks”.

The guidance has been produced in parallel with UEFA’s medical committee, which is seeking to produce Europe-wide guidance later this year.

Rydal Penrhos decided to take measures according to the findings as the Football Association of Wales conducts its own investigation into current regulations.

This will apply to training only and not competitive matches.

Dawn Astle, who has been campaigning for stricter measures following the death of father and former England striker Jeff from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), said: “There’s a lot more to do but it’s a great start and a real step in the right direction.

“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.”

CTE was discovered by Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu a Nigerian-American physician, forensic pathologist, and neuropathologist who was the first to discover and publish findings regarding the degenerative brain disease in American football players.