UEFA advises on protecting kids from head injuries

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Seeking to protect young players from head injuries, UEFA published guidelines Thursday for safely heading the ball in soccer games and practice.

Using foam balls in training drills, low-pressure balls in games, and educating coaches to strengthen players’ neck muscles were suggested.

One week’s rest is recommended for youths who show effects “such as dizziness, headache, unsteadiness,” and to educate coaches in recognizing those symptoms.

“It is acknowledged that scientific evidence at this moment does not allow for more detailed guidelines,” UEFA said.

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The sport has been trying to better prevent, identify and treat concussions.

The UEFA Heading Guidelines aim to guide national federations to limit heading in youth soccer to the minimum level needed to promote the sport.

A ban on children up to the age of 12 heading a ball in practice was proposed this year in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

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