According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, brain trauma caused by sports has increased about 60% in the last decade. Concussions are common injuries sustained by children when they are playing their favorite sport, but this does not make it okay. Any game involving a ball has the potential to hurt a child severely. If this can be prevented, it should be done so in all possible cases.

Heading in Soccer Games
A specific concern parents have regarding sport related injuries are those game practices, which purposefully involve head and ball contact. One such practice is ‘heading’ in soccer leagues. In soccer, only the use of the feet is allowed, and anything above the neck, such as your head, and many children are apt to try this ‘cool’ idea out.

When our children were young and they would fall off the bed or out of the chair, we would be worried about any lasting effects. Why not worry now, when they are repeatedly being put in danger’s way when heading the ball in soccer games? It is an unnecessary addition to an already fun game. Heading is not required to make soccer fun or different, and if such a need does exist, there are many other ways coaches and players can elicit fun activities.

Although our children’s heads are very strong, repetitive injury or ball to head action can cause mental impairment in the long run, according to a US study. More research is required to fully understand the potential effects, but there is currently evidence, which supports the notion of head injury.

How Parents Can Help
Parents can help children understand the issues related to heading and explain to them that no matter how ‘cool’ it is, the effects of the pain can be long lasting. This might be a bit harsh for children, but we need to keep them safe.

How Coaches Can Help
If the team is not encouraged to use their heads, they will not. Children look up to their coaches and will listen to the advice they provide. Coaches should emphasize that the best goals are made with the feet. If other team players are not practicing heading, your child will be sure not to either.

Media Influence
Due to the rage of the FIFA World Cup and star soccer players such as David Beckham, the love of soccer has increased amongst many children. The media depicts the difficult soccer techniques these professional players use when playing, and children are amazed and motivated to do the same. They will attempt to try these out, and though some of them can be done with practice and supervision, parents must always be supervising any such activity.

Heading is unnecessary in soccer games, and due to the potential risks, needs to be eliminated from children’s soccer leagues. Technically, there are no advantages or benefits of heading the ball rather than kicking it with the feet. Therefore, the risks and disadvantages involved with heading make it clear that this practice should be removed from the children’s soccer leagues and be discouraged amongst all children.

References
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/soccer.html
http://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/09/11604307-concussion-crisis-growing-in-girls-soccer?lite