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Sports

Premier League to launch studies into impact of heading

  • The issue of dementia in the professional game was highlighted by the death of England's Nobby Stiles, who along with many of his 1966 World Cup-winning team mates, including Jack and Bobby Charlton, had been diagnosed with the condition.
  • The equipment will be fitted with sensors to provide precise measurements and the data will be independently verified.
Published March 26, 2021

LONDON: The Premier League is to launch two studies looking into the forces involved in heading footballs with new measures expected to be implemented ahead of next season.

One study will involve players from Liverpool's and Manchester City's age-group and women's teams while the other is being conducted in partnership with Second Spectrum, the official tracking and analytics provider for the Premier League.

The issue of dementia in the professional game was highlighted by the death of England's Nobby Stiles, who along with many of his 1966 World Cup-winning team mates, including Jack and Bobby Charlton, had been diagnosed with the condition.

Some Premier League managers have called for a ban on heading in training if research shows it leads to dementia, while the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) had urged clubs, leagues and the FA to come up with techniques to monitor training and protect players.

In a statement on Friday the Premier League said players taking part in the studies would be fitted with PROTECHT mouthguards, which will collect data to show how the force and frequency of impacts affect the brain and body.

The equipment will be fitted with sensors to provide precise measurements and the data will be independently verified.

"The Premier League's focus is to make the game as safe as possible for all players," Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said.

"We are working with our partners across football to achieve this and the research studies we are undertaking are just one example of our commitment to this important issue.

"We hope the results of this project will contribute to the development of practical guidelines for the professional and adult game in this country."

The outcome of the studies will help form guidelines for training at professional and adult football levels.

The Premier League said it had also joined Alzheimer's Society's Sport United Against Dementia campaign, a support group helping people affected by dementia.

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