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Footballers beware!

Do you play football often? Then this blog will dribble your mind a bit.

According to researchers based at Liverpool Hope University (UK), footballers who regularly head a ball are risking a “glaring” decline in memory and eye speed.

Liverpool Hope University tested amateur players and noticed adverse effects after only a short period of heading the ball. It comes as former Tottenham, Hull and England midfielder Ryan Mason called for a ban on children heading footballs to be introduced. The 27-year-old was forced to retire in February 2018 after suffering a fractured skull during an aerial challenge in a Premier League game against Chelsea 13 months earlier.

A ban would copy rules in the United States, where under-11s are outlawed from heading by the US Soccer Federation - with limitations in place for players between 11 and 13. The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has previously called for restrictions for youngsters to be introduced in the UK until the long-term health risks of heading are better understood.

In the study, there was a short bout of 20 headers with the player having the ball thrown to them and heading it back. When tested immediately afterwards it showed there were clear effects – it was quite glaring. There was a decline in both saccadic eye speed and short-term memory which is concerning when you consider most recreational players will have to go about their everyday lives such as drive home after a game.

Liverpool Hope University is a leading UK university located in the dynamic port city of Liverpool. Liverpool has a rich history and was the birthplace of The Beatles, in addition to being the home of Liverpool F.C., a major contender in both domestic and international football tournaments.

It’s no surprise then the university offers highly sought-after programmes in sports science in practice:

•    BSc Sport and Exercise Science at the undergraduate level

•    MRes Sport and Exercise Science at postgraduate level

Studying sports science opens up a wide range of within elite and professional sport, hospitals and public health agencies, gyms, research and academia. You can also take this route as a means to further training, such as working in sports therapy and rehabilitation.

Liverpool Hope University has been ranked 2nd in the UK in for graduate employability. This means that 98.1 per cent of their graduates is either in work or further within just 6 months of the completion of their course. The university also offers specialized programmes in data science, robotics engineering, advanced computer science and MBA.

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