PFA demand heading in training reduced to tackle football’s dementia problem

Jack Rathborn
·2-min read
The PFA has called for a reduction in heading in training (Bongarts)
The PFA has called for a reduction in heading in training (Bongarts)

The PFA has demanded heading in training is reduced in order to confront football's problem with dementia and neurodegenerative diseases.

The player’s union made the claim following the PFA’s Management Committee meeting on Thursday, with a desire for the technique in the sport to be monitored.

The call for drastic change to the fundamental skills required in the game comes off the back of a PFA Charity-funded study in 2019 when FIELD found that footballers had 3.5x the death rate from neurodegenerative conditions than the general population.

While the body admits more research is needed, the initial demand is designed to provide more protection to players.

READ MORE: Premier League managers back calls to curb heading if link to dementia proven

With the information currently available, the PFA is supportive of a reduction of heading in training as a measure to reduce long-term health risks by creating “a coordinated strategy to measure, monitor and adapt training”.

<p>The PFA has called for a reduction in heading in training</p>Bongarts

The PFA has called for a reduction in heading in training

Bongarts

PFA Chairman, Ben Purkiss said: “Science has been developing quickly in this area, and we need to make an urgent intervention based on the evidence that is available now,” said PFA Chairman Ben Purkiss, after calling on clubs, leagues and The FA to united on the matter.

“A reduction of heading in training is a practical and straightforward step. We will be engaging with members, former members and their families to work on this area within the scope of the PFA’s new advisory group, where decisions will be made on the basis of expert advice.”

READ MORE: Geoff Hurst demands further action over ‘inarguable’ link between football and dementia

PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor added: “The PFA and PFA Charity will continue our commitment, alongside The FA, to fund research in this area. However, in the short-term, football cannot carry on as it is. There is a big issue here, and based on the increasing evidence available, it is clear we need to take immediate steps to monitor and reduce heading within training.”

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