ELK GROVE, Illinois. The American Academy of Pediatrics today recommended that all soccer players under the age of 24 wear helmets while playing or practicing to avoid injuries from “headers,” the practice of hitting an airborne ball with one’s head in order to pass or score.
“We stopped short of recommending air bags, but we couldn’t overlook the fact that hitting a soccer ball with your head produces an impact nearly twice as powerful as a collision between football players,” said AAP Executive Director Neil Michaels. “It’s a 50g force, which sounds really cool to say but can cause long-term neurologic damage.”
“We don’t want to grow up to be as dumb as you, coach!”
The group also recommended that soccer players be allowed to pick up the ball and run with it, and to pass it forward to other players. “Once the kids have helmets on, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have some fun,” noted Michaels. “Kids try headers because they get bored poking a ball around with their feet. Soccer’s too much like work.”
That’s more like it!
The President’s Council on Youth Fitness supported the pediatricians’ recommendations. “Soccer is responsible for more third world deaths than malaria,” noted Fritz Wilson, Chairman of that bi-partisan body. “You don’t see people getting killed after championship games in America, except major cities such as Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York. Wait–I forgot Miami.”
Wilson said he would support federal legislation to convert soccer “goals” into “touchdowns” worth six points, with a “free kick” afterwards worth an “extra point.” “Let’s face it,” he said, “soccer’s biggest problem is low scores, not a couple of kids with concussions.”
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