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Football cannot look the other way on brain disease

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The SFA’s impending ban on under-12s heading the ball in training is European football’s first step in reacting to the research into brain disease and death toll of former footballers from dementia.  The most comprehensive study into the subject, conducted at Glasgow University, found footballers more than three times more likely to die from degenerative brain disease than the rest of the population.

The problem for the game’s administrators is that it will take decades for the consequences of what is happening now in the game to be measurable.  Footballs are lighter than they were 40 years ago.  This may reduce the incidence of brain disease, but we will not know anytime soon.

The decision to exclude under-12s is arbitrary; there is no evidence that children under-12 are any more vulnerable than older children.  Conversely, we know they cannot fire the ball into the air with the same force.  It therefore seems unlikely this decision will have any impact on the health of football players, more it is an acceptance that, faced with scientific evidence, football needs to do something.

The game will change before this matter is finished.  Balls may become lighter or rules on heading could become complicated.  Research suggests that the genetic makeup of some people make them more prone to suffer degenerative brain disease following head trauma than others.  We could soon be able to find out which players have a genetic profile that makes them vulnerable from heading the ball.

There is plenty for the administrators, clubs and players’ unions to do in this area.  We have lost too many heroes to look the other way.

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298 Comments

  1. Re. Heading the ball.

     

     

    Taking from TBB`s post, even the most prolific headers of the ball would struggle to reach 4,000 headers in a career.

     

    When I was at school, we had regular `competitions` heading the ball against a wall and also heading it to one another in pairs. Those who were good at this would have headed one of those Mouldmasters ( Fridos) that Hrvatski jim mentioned earlier) about 4,000 times in a week!

     

    Banning heading for U12`s might be viewed a step in the right direction but I do not see it, on its own, as making a worthwhile difference ( Seems more likely to me that it is the SFA trying to look modern and caring).

     

    I don`t know if professional footballers practise heading drills but, if they do, those would account for far more impacts than do the games themselves.

     

     

    Macjay

     

    `The most comprehensive study into the subject, conducted at Glasgow University, found footballers more than three times more likely to die from degenerative brain disease than the rest of the population.`

     

     

    Were those footballers studied playing and living in countries all over the world?

  2. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    HOT SMOKED on 16TH JANUARY 2020 3:58 PM

     

    Re. Heading the ball.

     

     

    Taking from TBB`s post, even the most prolific headers of the ball would struggle to reach 4,000 headers in a career.

     

    =====

     

     

    Very good point. Training accounts for so much more time and probably impact.

     

     

    Someone mentioned Billy McNeill earlier and I remember in part a quote either from him or about him in relation to training drills, and how they repeatedly practiced goal kicks/corners with Billy soaring up to attack it and head clear.

     

     

    HH

  3. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 16TH JANUARY 2020 3:48 PM

     

     

    Arzani as a guy who’s played on both wings throughout his career.

     

     

    Shved is primarily a right-winger but is left-footed.

     

     

    I doubt playing on the left-wing would be alien to either.

     

     

    Every problem is met with the same solution “Celtic must spend significant money on a transfer to fix this”

     

     

    Micky Johnston is a couple of weeks away from fitness and Chrtisie will be back in the same timeframe. Give Arzani or Shved a chance until then.

     

     

    The squad is massive and is overflowing with wingers. Maybe the squad needs some additions (at CB for example) but not in this case.

     

     

    Neil Lennon has so options at his disposal even before Christie.

     

     

    1. Use Arzani 2. Use Shved 3. Use Hayes 4. Use McGregor 5. Use Boli or Hayes as wing-back

     

     

    High quality players generally aren’t available this time of year. The huns will sign nobody. The market is completely stagnant elsewhere.

     

     

    If we sign a winger he will be an unknown which puts them in the same category as Shved and Arzani.

     

     

    Do we really expect a new player to become a contributor to the first team in their first month? Everyone is so optimistic about hypothetical signings.

  4. Ismaila Soro transfer being confirmed by his club, it appears.

     

     

    Which is nice…..

     

     

    Not a winger, so we can continue to panic :)

  5. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ TIMALOY29 on 16TH JANUARY 2020 4:10 PM

     

     

    “Every problem is met with the same solution “Celtic must spend significant money on a transfer to fix this””

     

     

    Paul’s first article of the NY talked of strengthening the squad to try and win every game between now and the end of the year- has this happened or do you think it will? Spending money is an approach which our directors are loathed to choose. Can you name any windows where you thought we splashed out or showed a level of ambition? I would say last summer was a decent window, but it was the result of replacing a whole back 4 (plus squad members). It wasn’t signing quality to improve upon what we already had.

     

     

    MJ is a 20 year old kid whose body seems to be adapting to the physical rigors of first team football- look at his injury record this year. No broken bones, all muscular complaints. Are we really relying on a 20 year player to get us through the next 6 months?

     

     

    Again, we have chosen not to utilise Shved or Arzani in the first 6 months but we have to now believe that they will be sufficient for the run in? Where is the logic in that.

     

     

    “1. Use Arzani 2. Use Shved 3. Use Hayes 4. Use McGregor 5. Use Boli or Hayes as wing-back”

     

     

    Either a complete lack of quality, an unknown (and inexperienced) option or playing players out of position. We have money to address our shortcomings.

     

     

    “Do we really expect a new player to become a contributor to the first team in their first month? Everyone is so optimistic about hypothetical signings.”

     

     

    There are plenty examples of players coming in and making a difference from their first game. Even this year- Forster, Frimpong, Elhamed, never mind previous years.

  6. If we apply the same logic as you have just applied to wingers, then why do you think centre back is any different ?

     

     

    We have : Ajer + Jullien.

     

    We now have Jozo back in full-time training.

     

    We have Bitton, who has filled in admirably at centre back on a number of occasions

     

    We have El Hamed, who will be fit come February

     

    We have Jack Hendry

     

     

    How many do you want ??

  7. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    HOT SMOKED on 16TH JANUARY 2020 3:58 PM

     

     

    Yes.

     

     

    Is alcohol a contributor to degenerative brain disease ?

  8. Elyounoussi is back in training but apparently a week or two away. I expect to see Arzani or Shved start on Saturday.

     

    Apart from him our injury list is Elhamed, Mikey & Rogic. Not too sure about Bayo but with the new man in Bayo is gone back the pecking order anyway.

     

    Talking about wingers if we could get Elhamed back. I’d like to see Frimpong tried ahead of him on the wing.

  9. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 16TH JANUARY 2020 4:40 PM

     

     

    Except for his mist recent injury ME has an excellent record for missing games through injury

     

     

    Between him and MJ we should have enough between now and the end of the season

     

     

    We have emergency options if they don’t

  10. RUGGYGMAN on 16TH JANUARY 2020 4:41 PM

     

    If we apply the same logic as you have just applied to wingers, then why do you think centre back is any different ?

     

     

    We have : Ajer + Jullien.

     

     

    We now have Jozo back in full-time training.

     

     

    We have Bitton, who has filled in admirably at centre back on a number of occasions

     

     

    We have El Hamed, who will be fit come February

     

     

    We have Jack Hendry

     

     

    How many do you want ??

     

     

    ___

     

     

    Jack Hendry, unlike Arzani and Shved, has had his chance and is clearly not in Neil Lennon’s plans. I understand the only reason he is still here due to a botched negotiation.

     

     

    Jozo Simunovic is back in light training but we have no clear idea when he will be fit to play.

     

     

    The same applies to Elhamed. We have seen the obligatory training pictures on social media but at this stage we have heard nothing but setbacks from injury. Unknown when to return.

     

     

    That leaves Bitton, Jullien & Ajer. Not enough considering we play 2 sometimes 3 CB’s a game.

     

     

    If Elhamed & Simunovic are truly a couple weeks away from fitness like Micky Johnston then we’d maybe be ok.

     

     

    We haven’t seen a sign of Bauer anywhere either. Unclear if he will return for the second half of the season.

  11. Soccer sevens should be used for children up to 12. Given the set up it should be easy to eliminate heading. The pitch is small and ensuring under head height will be quickly learned.

     

     

    As the lead article says, the different balls will have a huge effect, in the old days the ball used to get heavier as the game went on and often ended up like heading a medicine ball.

     

     

    The game itself has changed as has the Training and I feel that the dangers to the brain will have lessened already without the under 12 heading,

  12. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ CELTIC40ME on 16TH JANUARY 2020 4:47 PM

     

     

    We need a winger to compete with JF and to ease burden.

  13. Big Wavy

     

     

    “We have Jack Hendry”

     

     

    I did put that at the bottom of the list for comedy effect. Glad it had the desired impact

  14. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 16TH JANUARY 2020 4:40 PM

     

    @ TIMALOY29 on 16TH JANUARY 2020 4:10 PM

     

     

     

    “Paul’s first article of the NY talked of strengthening the squad to try and win every game between now and the end of the year- has this happened or do you think it will?”

     

     

    I think summer windows are when you get your business done. You have more time and teams are far more willing to trade. I think our last summer window was a success. Summer 2018 was a disaster.

     

    Any useful addition in January is a useful

     

     

     

     

     

     

    “MJ is a 20 year old kid whose body seems to be adapting to the physical rigors of first team football- look at his injury record this year. No broken bones, all muscular complaints. Are we really relying on a 20 year player to get us through the next 6 months?”

     

    MJ has just been awarded a longer term deal most likely on improved terms. We cannot be in the business of handing out long-term deals on players who cannot be relied upon to be even the No. 2 in their position. If you think we need to invest in “quality” and show “ambition” at left wing then

     

     

     

     

     

    “Again, we have chosen not to utilise Shved or Arzani in the first 6 months but we have to now believe that they will be sufficient for the run in? Where is the logic in that.”

     

     

    Possibly the case with Shved but not Arzani. ACL injuries used to be career ending and Daniel has only just returned to selection.

     

     

     

    “Either a complete lack of quality, an unknown (and inexperienced) option or playing players out of position. We have money to address our shortcomings.”

     

     

    Here we go. Any winger we sign in this window will less known to the manager than Arzani & Shved who have already been in training. Thistle offers a chance to get a look at these players prior to the return of Christie & MJ in the next couple weeks.

     

     

    Playing players “out of position” is hardly the travesty people make it out to be.

     

     

    We won games with Christie on the right (where he’s played plenty before) and Forrest on the left. We won games by changing the system and playing wingbacks.

     

     

    Callum McGregor started his career as a winger. I doubt asking him to play there against either Kilmarnock or Ross County will ruin him.

     

     

    Liverpool are the best team in the world and are full of players who play a multitude of positions. Joe Gomez has filled in at fullback. Milner started his career as a winger, then a number 10, then a number 8 and has now filled in at fullback too. Fabinho is originally a fullback who moved into central midfield. Jordan Henderson has played everywhere.

     

     

    “There are plenty examples of players coming in and making a difference from their first game. Even this year- Forster, Frimpong, Elhamed, never mind previous years.”

     

     

    And as you are aware there will be plenty of examples of players who don’t.What we are talking about here is utilising a long-term strategy for a short-term problem. Spending millions of pounds in wages and fees to address a problem over the next 2 to 3 weeks. In a January window where options are especially limited.

     

     

    Maybe you don’t think MJ can be relied on. Maybe you don’t think Hayes can be relied on to play 1 or 2 games. Maybe it’s not worth even trying to use Shved or Arzani. In that case we should be getting rid of all four. No point in having backups around who cannot be used.

  15. Some interesting takes on the heading the ball and how it should encourage the ball to be played to feet. When you think about it, big defenders heading the ball, well it’s ridiculous really. I happened to watch Man Citeh take Aston Villa apart and even my wife noted how Citeh hardly ever played a high ball, always to feet, and to say they are a reasonable team is way understated.

     

    Be kind to someone.

     

     

     

    KINGLubO

  16. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 16TH JANUARY 2020 5:06 PM

     

    @ CELTIC40ME on 16TH JANUARY 2020 4:47 PM

     

     

     

    We need a winger to compete with JF and to ease burden.

     

     

    But you were saying just the other day that Shved and his amazing CV would be enough for the SPFL?

  17. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ TIMALOY29 on 16TH JANUARY 2020 5:21 PM

     

     

    They have no money. We do. We have huge amounts of it and are completely mismanaging it.

     

     

    You must agree with the Nimmo Smith report that having more money to spend on players does not give a competitive advantage. It certainly doesn’t for Celtic.

  18. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 16TH JANUARY 2020 5:38 PM

     

     

    We aren’t talking about EBT cheating over a large scale over a sustained period.

     

     

    This is about dealing with a short-term injury problem. My argument is, not giving a chance to Shved and Arzani at this point and spending millions again is mismanagement. Neil Lennon has suggested he’s been impressed with Shved in training. Arzani has had a horror injury and hasn’t had a chance.

  19. glendalystonsils on

    bournesouprecipe on 16th January 2020 5:41 pm

     

    £5.5M spent half way through a January window

     

     

    Or …..8 and a bit Henrik Larssons in old money.

  20. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 16TH JANUARY 2020 5:38 PM

     

    @ TIMALOY29 on 16TH JANUARY 2020 5:21 PM

     

     

     

    They have no money. We do. We have huge amounts of it and are completely mismanaging it.

     

     

    That’s a contradiction in terms.

  21. King lubo

     

    Geez wan o them French ladies singing,meant to say your tune post in other day was class

     

     

    ————————————-

     

    Hotsmoke/hrvatski Jim

     

     

    I suppose it had to happen within the current topic,the mention of heidy’n a bladder,a mouldmaster,the mitre 5,it literally makes me neck wobble thinkin bout it lol, I recall primary school games in our local park,the pitches solid and rucked in frosted mud.legs white with cold and a big red mark on yir leg were it scudded off!! Painful lol.

     

    HH

  22. Ok so any suggestions as to who we should buy out there ?

     

     

    I saw the idea of buying the Slovakian guy getting slaughtered on here a few weeks ago. Now we buy a polish guy and the Slovakian has become the guy we should be buying ?

     

     

    Any ideas out there as to who we should buy ?

  23. An T. / Bada

     

     

    Thanks. I was wondering. It seemed quiet suddenly.

     

     

    I have heard really positive reports from an Israeli friend. A young more mobile Victor. With attitude.