N. Jeremi Duru


Soccer encourages and demands one action that puts the head in consistent danger: heading the ball. Thirty percent (30%) of concussions in soccer occur when two players attempt to head the ball at the same time, resulting in head clashes or heads colliding with other body parts or the ground. The desired outcome of an attempted header – head to ball impact – causes untold damage as well. This Article, therefore, argues that soccer’s governing bodies should eliminate the practice of heading from the game. Do-ing so would protect generations of soccer players to come and would limit potentially wide-spread liability among soccer governing bodies, as well as the ensuing economic consequences, ensuring the continued existence of “The Beautiful Game.” Part II of this Article offers a primer on brain trauma and its incidence in contact sports. Part III details the historical relationship between soccer and football, the ties that bind them, and each game’s position vis-a-vis the other in the pecking order of American sports. Part IV explores the underappreciated danger of brain trauma that playing soccer poses. Part V examines the inefficacy of headgear in protecting soccer players’ brains. Part VI tracks the technological advances in soccer ball development that have led to increased heading and examines the movement to reduce heading in youth, but not adult, soccer. Part VII concludes that for the safety of soccer players and the future of the game, heading should be eliminated from soccer at all levels.

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