Omalu discovered a disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in NFL players, which sparked a nation-wide health scandal.
CTE is degenerative brain condition found in those who have suffered repetitive brain trauma, such as footballers who are constantly getting hit on the head and heading footballs.
Omalu believes that unless there’s a complete overhaul of the rules of football from a youth level, the disease will be seen more and more in players, and the sport will fail.
“I am speaking out because I recognise that it is for the longterm survivability of the sport,” Omalu told the Telegraph. “If I didn’t love this sport, I would have chosen to keep quiet and see it implode. I support soccer but 21st-century, smart, brain-friendly soccer. Nothing is too big or popular to fail.
“Once parents begin to tell their children, ‘If you play that game, you may not be as smart as you should be,’ that’s all you need. Once that perception percolates down, that’s the end of the sport. I’m not saying it needs to be banned. It needs to be modified and made safer.”
He believes that heading the ball at all under the age of 18 should be banned, and for kids under 12, whose spacial awareness isn’t as developed, they should use a safer, plastic ball.
Former West Brom and England striker, Jeff Astle, died of CTE in 2002, and, according to the Telegraph, over 300 families have been in touch with his because their family member has died of the same condition.
The FA promised a study, which they never delivered on, and, as Omalu was also ignored in the US, he claims that sport’s governing bodies unfortunately can’t be relied upon.
According to the report by Jeremy Wilson, studies have been conducted in the past year at the University of Stirling, which showed neurodegenerative disease at a worryingly young age, and the University…