Poll: Should under-10s be banned from heading a football?

Ivo Pinto of Norwich wins a header during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich
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Ivo Pinto of Norwich wins a header during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 11/02/2017 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Youth coaches and ex-footballers say they would support a ban on young players heading footballs if a link to dementia is proven.

A study published earlier this week revealed for the first time that repeatedly heading the ball could lead to long-term brain damage.

The research examined the brains of six retired players who all developed dementia in their later life.

Former footballers, including ex-Norwich City star Iwan Roberts, have since come forward in support of banning under-10s from heading the ball.

And European football's governing body, Uefa, today announced it had commissioned a research project into the issue.


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Its study, which begins on Friday, aims to help establish the risk posed to young players during matches and training sessions.

But those linked with the football community in Norfolk believe further research was needed before any ban should come into force.

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Ex-City legend Dave Stringer, 72, is no stranger to headers having played in defence for 12 years at Norwich between 1964 and 1976.

He said: 'If it is proven that it does do damage, then obviously it is something we should think about for those playing at a young age.

'But there are so many different aspects to it because there are many people in different professions who suffer with dementia.

'My mother had it when she got older and she never headed a football in her life.

'But if it is proven that it does do damage, then obviously it is something we should think about.'

The Football Association (FA) today said it supported the latest research.

Its head of medicine, Dr Charlotte Cowie, said the body had agreed with the Professional Footballers' Association to jointly fund further investigation.

Meanwhile, Norfolk FA said it would fully support any recommendations made by the FA once the research has concluded.

Gary Howes, manager of the Sprowston Hawkes under-10s, said: 'There is always a risk, but I would be more concerned about players colliding with each other, than heading the ball.'

• Do you think young footballers should be banned from heading the ball? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684

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