There is a war of words raging in Quebec where the provincial soccer federation has banned people from wearing turbans while playing soccer.
The federation calls them dangerous, especially when players go up for a head ball and can knock heads. They say the turban is, in effect, a helmet and can cause injury to another player. For it’s part, the national governing body in Canada allows for protective headgear (turbans) to be worn, as does FIFA.
The debate has twisted and turned from a religious / cultural argument into one about player safety that has some calling for kids to wear helmets while playing soccer, because obviously its one of the dangerous games kids play. A Globe and Mail editorial even weaved arguments about helmets in hockey into a demand they be brought to the pitch.
Scott Delaney, a McGill University researcher, has found that soccer players have rates of head injury similar to football and hockey players. Researchers have also raised concerns about long-term brain damage from repeated subconcussive blows from heading the ball. “Preliminary research has shown [protective headgear] may decrease the number of concussions and soft tissue injuries of the head,” a 2010 position paper of the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine says.
Soccer needs a debate on brain safety, not a debate on turbans.
[The Globe and Mail]
Columnist Andrew Coyne brought this up on his Twitter account last night. The debate quickly swung into a list of dangerous games people used to play when they were kids that would certainly have them taken away from their parents if the modern child services agencies found out.
How did we ever outwit Darwin and make it to adulthood?