Sunday, July 26, 2015

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Stop heading in soccer for women and girls.  Change the rules and do not allow a girl to hit the ball with her head. None of the federations want to change anything especially now while they are flying high on the success cloud recently of women’s soccer winning the prize in America. Thousands of little girls and their soccer moms lined the streets of Manhattan to see the victory parade and in essence validate the need for a soccer Mom. More now than ever the rules need to be changed to save thousands of girls from severe head injuries that the officials are ignoring.

In soccer fast feet are crucial but good plays can be made without hitting back a speeding ball through the air with your head. The thin graceful neck muscles of a woman were not designed to take the pressure of a hit to the head like that. I am not being sexist. It is true that women’s bodies are different from men in many ways including the much more fragile neck muscles of a women. Unfortunately hitting the ball with your head is still a very important way of playing the game. No one does it better than Abby Wambach the United States Captain in this year’s World Cup Champion Team. She is an inspiration to young girls nationwide. Abby has won more international goals from headers than any other woman ever.  The dark side is that many girls trying to be just like her are getting severe head injuries that just will not go away.

Related imageAs with any injury some people escape and others have long term effects. Girls can have multiple concussions from heading. Sensitivity to light, many headaches and nausea, sensitivity to noise and music or TV is a major problem after a concussion.  The result is that girls are being pulled from school and all other activities because they are in such pain and confusion. Should you be risking your daughter’s life for a sport? It is a very popular girls sport now. I say keep it simple. Change the damn rules. Perminent damage is not worth the risk to our beautiful athletic young girls. There is a concussion specialist, Dr. John Leddy has seen more and more of these types of injuries lately. There are at least 100,000 reports of concussions from heading reported each year.

With weaker neck muscles than boys, their head is left to be more easily shaken. If you have stronger neck muscles your head doesn’t move around as much after a hit to the head. Some girls as young as 8-11 years old are already heading the ball.  Some already have lasting headaches and miss months of school. Cindy Parlow   Cone was one of the best headers in the world. She was part of the legendary United States Nationals Teams that won 2 Olympic Gold Medals and the 1999 World Cup.  Now she suffers daily from concussions. Years of heading has taken its toll on her brain. There is nothing that she can do about it at this point but cope but we as a nation can protect the next generation. Why not?
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Developing brains need protection and coaches can tell girls not to head the ball. Christopher Novinsky of Boston University has conducted numerous studies on head injuries in sports and agrees that something needs to be stopped in placing the pressure on the brain. All it would take is a stroke of a pen on banning heading from girls’ soccer ages 9-12 for starters to reduce injuries. He is credited for forcing the National Football League to address their concussion problems with players. Hockey raised the age of checking from 11 – 13 why can’t they change the rules for girls’ in this age group too?

The organization U.S. Soccer has refused to make any change.  Parents filed a law suit on this matter in California. No federation wants their successful sport to be labeled a dangerous sport. U. S. Youth Soccer is ignoring the issue too.  Some soccer stars are getting together to address this issue. If their fame is going to attract more girls to the sport they want them to be safe.  

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