Concussion: FA to introduce head-injury rules at grassroots level

Jeff Astle, the former West Bromwich Albion striker
A coroner ruled Jeff Astle died from a brain condition connected to his football career

The Football Association hopes to have new rules on dealing with head injuries in amateur football by March, after a campaign by Jeff Astle's family.

Former West Bromwich Albion, Notts County and England striker Astle died in 2002, aged 59, from a brain condition normally linked to boxing.

Head of performance services Dave Reddin said the FA had previously been slow to act in head-injury research.

The Premier League brought in new regulations for its clubs in August.

But grassroots football has had less guidance from the FA.

Reddin said: "I've just reconstituted an expert panel who are going to advise us on the likely research that can take place and also help us review and update our concussion guidelines.

"We're still making sure that the grassroots guidelines are not just correct but also practical to implement at that level.

"We could have been faster but I think what's important is that we get it right before they go out."

Alex Roome
Youth coach Alex Roome asked why football should be treated differently from boxing

Alex Roome, a youth coach at East Midlands Counties Football League club Ashby Ivanhoe, told Inside Out East Midlands he had to find out himself what to do when he had a concussion.

"I had concussion as a player once so obviously I'm aware of it but as regards to guidance from the FA or anything like that, no," he said. "No-one is actually explaining it to you.

"I've headed the ball before and I can't imagine it's very dissimilar to being hit by a boxing glove so why should football be any different?"

A coroner ruled Astle suffered repeated concussions after heading heavy leather footballs during his career.

The FA agreed to carry out research into head injuries in football after chairman Greg Dyke met the family of Astle, following a long-running campaign.

Astle's daughter Dawn said football should look after its past.

"We felt that football didn't care, that he died as a result of being a footballer," she said.

"The coroner ruled industrial disease, dad's job had killed him and in any other profession that would have had earthquake-like repercussions, but not football.

"It was like [the FA] were trying to wriggle out of it and that's wrong."

Watch more about the life of Jeff Astle and his family's campaign on Inside Out East Midlands on Monday, 23 February at 19:30 GMT and nationwide on the iPlayer for seven days thereafter.

Justice for Jeff banner
The Justice for Jeff campaign was set up to raise awareness of degenerative brain disease

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