Headgear Battles: Calen Carr Versus Petr Cech

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Who wears their headgear better.

Even though the headgear look a bit silly, and probably isn’t too comfortable to wear, this is no laughing matter when you think about.

Chelsea’s Petr Cech, perhaps the most famous headgear wearing soccer player in the world, wears his protective helmet after a collusion resulted in a skull fracture which required him to have metal plates attached to his skull. Yeah, I’d wear headgear after that.

Plus, he’s a goalkeeper, so he’s constantly diving for balls and jumping to win balls that put his head in danger. Goalkeepers should all wear headgear.

The Houston Dynamo’s Calen Carr, suffered a concussion, and since then wears the protective headgear so he’s less likely to suffer another one if he takes an elbow to the head or clashes heads with another player. That’s just smart. Why risk having to leave the game entirely if you suffer another consussion:

Jimmy Conrad is the second major MLS star to retire because of concussions in recent years. Taylor Twellman is perhaps the biggest name in MLS history to retire because of a concussion. Mexican national team star Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez missed all of Manchester United’s preseason games after suffering a concussion in training one day before the Red Devils played the MLS All-Stars last month. (Chron)

It’s an issue that youth soccer teams are also starting to address. Many teams aren’t even introducing heading the ball until kids are in their teens. Young kids are still growing and there’s no reason to risk injury at a young age. I think this is more than fair. Kids don’t have to try to head the ball when the keeper punts it sky high up the field. Kids don’t need to risk taking a head to the back of their own head when another player tries to win the ball with their head.

And it will remain a part of the scholastic game as well, said Fred Balsalmo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors, which oversees athletic programs in member schools of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Balsalmo can understand prohibiting young children from heading. Although the ball is smaller in youth soccer, its density is the same and the neck muscles of young children aren’t fully developed. By high school, he said, students’ necks and heads have developed to better withstand the impact of the ball. And, most importantly, they’ve been trained in the proper way to head the ball.

"Part of it is physical development and part of it is technique," he said. "A layperson might think you just hit it with your head, but there are certain parts of the head where you don’t want to hit the ball and there are certain parts that you do."

As far as the danger of hitting the ball with the head, Balsamo said he suspects that more concussions happen when players try to head the ball, but miss and hit the head of another player.

"It’s part of the sport," he said. "It’s not something that’s going to get banned in high school." (Courant)

As far as the headgear battle – I think Cech wins but he doesn’t look to happy about having to wear it in this picture.

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