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Soccer Head Games

I have been trying to get our soccer purists in Michigan to consider – to at least talk about – less head-to-ball contact – at least at the junior high/middle school level. I’ve had very little success. Apparently I lack credentials to offer suggestions about the “beautiful game.”

Recently, people who do have the credentials that I apparently lack have given credibility to my concerns, including a host of former World Cup champions led by Brandi Chastain, who are supporting Safer Soccer which says banning heading for participants under 14 years old (especially females) is a “no brainer.”

Launched in 2014 by Sports Legacy Institute and the Santa Clara University Institute of Sports Law and Ethics, the goal of Safer Soccer is to educate the soccer community that delaying heading until age 14 or high school “would eliminate the No. 1 cause of concussions in middle school soccer and is in the best interest of youth soccer players.”

The danger is both in the head-to-ball contact and the head-to-head contact by two players competing to head the ball.

There are legitimate differences of opinion on this topic, as well as absurd claims of some that this campaign is intended to give back the hard-fought gains of women in sports, and equally bizarre blather of others that this is intended to keep the sport of soccer in a place of secondary profile in the US. If we can get past that nonsense, perhaps then we can have an adult debate about children’s health.

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From the Director

From the Director is the official MHSAA Blog which will touch on pertinent school sports topics periodically throughout the school year from various MHSAA Staff.