avid Moyes has called on sports companies to develop a training football which reduces the long-term damage to players when heading the ball.
In light of increased calls for action around the links between heading the ball and dementia, the West Ham manager also raised the possibility of regular testing for his generation of players in order to ensure any diagnosis is made as early as possible.
Following the death of World Cup winner Nobby Stiles and the diagnosis of teammate Sir Bobby Charlton, the Professional Footballers’ Association is creating a taskforce to further research the problem of brain injury diseases in football and their causes.
Another World Cup winner, Sir Geoff Hurst, said that heading the ball in training was “probably more detrimental” than during a game and Moyes wants to see equipment brought in to address that imbalance.
The Hammers boss said: “I am amazed that the likes of Adidas or Nike haven’t come up with a training ball, a heading training ball or something, we don’t want a balloon, something that is the same sort of weight that we can use for heading practice.
“I would hope that one of the companies could come up with a ball that we can use. I haven’t seen the average amount of times a player heads a ball in a game but I can imagine some don’t at all but others might do two or three times, maybe a centre forward or a defender could seven or eight times.
“So I am not too sure it’s the game type heading the ball, it is more to do with training so that is why I am advocating getting a training ball which could be used for heading practice. I don’t think we want to take heading out of the game if we can help it.”
While pushing for equipment changes to protect future generations, the 57-year-old – who made more than 500 league appearances as a player – wants regular testing for his own age group of players.
“I think obviously we are in a generation that could be affected, we are not sure exactly,” said Moyes. “We have to remember my generation came through with a lot of heading of the ball, head knocks over the years, I don’t think football is quite that way now.
“Going forward we need to make sure things are ok, maybe with regular testing or something like that for people of our generation so that we can make sure we do catch it early, I don’t know if that will make it any better or not.”
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