Raphael Varane Raises Concerns Over Long-Term Impact of Heading in Football

Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has spoken out about the long-term effects of heading the ball in football, revealing that he has “damaged his body” due to repeated impacts.

Varane, who has represented France at the highest level, highlighted instances from his career where he played on despite suffering concussion, including during a World Cup match in 2014.

The centre-back emphasized the need for greater protection and awareness regarding the dangers of heading, especially for young players. He disclosed that he advises his own son against heading the ball, citing the potential harmful effects in the long term.

Reflecting on past experiences, Varane recalled playing in matches while concussed, admitting that he was in “autopilot” mode during a World Cup quarter-final game against Germany in 2014. Despite concerns about his fitness, Varane played on and performed well, but acknowledges the risks he took by doing so.

The footballer emphasized that the impact of concussions can be invisible but can lead to significant damage over time. He called for increased education about the risks of heading on all levels of football, urging for more precautions to be taken to protect players’ well-being.

Varane’s comments come amid ongoing concerns about head injuries in football, with new guidelines and protocols introduced to mitigate the risks. However, a group of former players and families has initiated legal action against football governing bodies, alleging negligence in addressing the dangers of concussion.

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