By Christine D'Antonio

MONROEVILLE (KDKA)- The area’s largest youth soccer organization has banned headers for players under the age of 11.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, coaches in the Pennsylvania West Soccer Association were told about the change this week. The new rules follow the guidelines set in place by the national U.S. Soccer Federation back in November.

The U.S. Soccer Federation’s rule changes were the result of a class-action lawsuit brought by a group of California parents worried about concussions.

Under the Pennsylvania West Soccer Association’s new rules, players under the age of 11 will not be allowed to head the ball.

According to the Tribune-Review, violating the rule will result in a free kick to the opposing team.

The rules also limit headers for 11-13 year olds to just 20 a week during practices. However, those kids will have no restrictions on heading a ball in an actual game.

The rules are effective immediately.

The Pennsylvania West Soccer Association is based in Monroeville and has 48,000 youth players.

Back in July, JAMA Pediatrics published a study showing headers caused about a third of concussions among boys and a quarter of concussions among girls. But most of those concussions were caused by head-to-head contact.

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