The U.S. Soccer Federation is issuing new rules for children 13 and under in an effort to prevent concussions.
Under the new rules, children 10 and younger will be prohibited from heading the ball during practice and games.
Children 11 to 13 will be allowed to head the ball during games only, but not during practice in an effort to reduce repeated contact.
However, concussion experts say heading the ball is not the primary source of concussions.
"Concussions are caused most commonly by player to player collisions, a player hitting the ground the hard or a player actually being elbowed, kneed by another player," explains Dr. Gerard Gioia of Children’s National Health System.
Former U.S. National Soccer Team player Briana Scurry suffered a career-ending concussion in a knee to head collision. She says the new rules are a good step, but that more needs to be done.
"I think one of the things that is missing in this initiative is the idea of protection. Protection is something that helps and by that I mean head gear," Scurry says.
The announcement comes in the wake of a 2014 class action lawsuit by parents and players against U.S. Soccer and others for negligence in treating and monitoring head injuries.
The suit asked for no financial damages, only rule changes which are now being implemented. The specifics of the new policy as well as other safety changes are expected to be announced in the next 30 days.
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