ZURICH -- A leading neurosurgeon called for better protection for young athletes from head injuries on Friday, as a research project involving 100 retired NFL players seeks a diagnosis for a brain disease linked to multiple concussions.
At a FIFA-hosted (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) international conference on concussions in sports, Robert Cantu urged the outlawing of tackling in football, heading in soccer and body-checking in ice hockey in youth matches.
"It's best not to have blows on the head under the age of 14," Cantu, from Boston University's medical school, told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the seminar. "The bottom line is that we need to make sports safer for our children."
Cantu addressed 150 medical experts, including advisers to the NFL and NHL, at the conference, which is backed by the International Olympic Committee and held once every four years.
1. Children under the age of 14 are so undisciplined it would be almost
impossible to maintain the way the game is played at the middle school football and Pop Warner football levels to eleiminate all forms of head hitting. It would require a complete overhaul of how football is played at those levels. Even if you instituted flag football with pads how would you deal with plays from the line of scrimmage and blocking? It will be interesting to see if this eventually goes anywhere.