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Restricted headers football match a welcome move

The first adult football game with heading restrictions in place is a welcome development, says a lawyer who has represented people with brain injuries.

Posted on 24 September 2021

Spennymoor Town FC will host a charity match between retired professionals and organised by Head For Change.

No headers are allowed outside the box in the first-half of the pilot match. Heading the ball will be banned completely in the second-half.

Head For Change says the fixture will be the first of its kind and follows research at the University of Glasgow that found a link between repetitive heading and neurodegenerative disease.

Leigh Day solicitor Tina Patel, who has previously backed a call for a fund to support former players who are suffering from neurodegenerative disease, including dementia, welcomed the match as a positive development towards raising awareness of the issue and changing practice in football.

She also welcomed a move by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) to educate players on the risk of brain injuries so they can make informed decisions.

The PFA is backing the Concussion Legacy Foundation UK (CLF) - one of two brain injury charities involved in setting up the Concussion Legacy Project (CLP). The CLP aims to research and eventually prevent chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) - a progressive brain condition thought to be caused by concussions and repeated blows to the head.

Tina Patel said:

“The match at Spennymoor FC is a hugely welcome development in the campaign to reduce the practice of heading in football. Links between repeated heading and neurodegenerative disease have been made clear through research and we are glad to see moves to reduce that risk.”

Tina Patel
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Tina Patel

Tina Patel is a partner in the consumer law team.

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