Intended for healthcare professionals


Scottish footballers are advised to limit heading the ball over brain injury fears

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 29 November 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2885
  1. Bryan Christie
  1. Edinburgh

Scottish football has introduced some of the most stringent guidelines in the world limiting the time professional players can head the ball.

The move follows research carried out at the University of Glasgow1 which found that former professional footballers were 3.5 times more likely to die from neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia than members of the general population. While the study was not designed to identify the cause of the increased risk, both head injury and heading have been suggested as contributory factors.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) introduced guidelines limiting heading in children’s and youth …

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