PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Concern over concussions has led to a change in the rules for young soccer players in Western Pennsylvania.
And some parents think it’s a good move – if it doesn’t go too far.
It has to do with “heading” – where players use his or her head to hit the ball to another player or toward the goal.
The Pennsylvania West Soccer Association has decided to ban headers for players under the age of 11.
It comes after the U.S. Soccer Federation changed its guidelines following a lawsuit from parents concerned about concussions.
Some parents at practice Thursday night at the Pine-Richland Soccer Club support the changes.
“They’re little, and they’re developing, and I think it’s a great idea that they implemented the rule for kids under 11,” said Ronelle Rowe of Richland.
“I think for the small kids, it’s a good rule because if that ball hits them, it can really jar their head back,” said Milo Orsini of Richland.
However, he wouldn’t want to see it expanded to older kids.
“No, they’ve got to start playing competitively,” he said.
Coach Lance Sabados says with the 8- to 10-year-olds he coaches, he doesn’t see much heading anyway.
“I’m not sure how much of an impact it’ll be,” said Sabados. “They don’t have the ball much at this age.”
In fact, his older son – who’s 15 – received three concussions playing soccer, but Sabados says: “None of them were from heading, so if you had that rule in effect even older, it wouldn’t have impacted his concussions.”