The role of the header isn't at risk when it comes to college and professional soccer, but former U.S. star Julie Foudy says the sports needs better safety measures to cover the injuries that come from header attempts.
Foudy, a soccer analyst for espnW, echoes the sentiments of former teammates Brandi Chastain and Cindy Parlow, who are advocating for youth soccer to ban players from attempting headers.
"I think at a younger age, taking heading out of the equation is smart," Foudy tells ThePostGame. "Eight, 10, 12 years old -- you don't need to be launching balls and taking contact with your head."
At higher competitive levels, more experienced players have mastered proper technique to minimize the risk of concussions and head traumas. While she knows of players who have suffered multiple concussions in their career, Foudy herself says she never had such an injury.
But when they do happen, Foudy is concerned with a lack of safety measures to recognize concussions and protect athletes. She pointed to a moment in World Cup group play earlier this month, when U.S. star Abby Wambach took a serious blow to the head from a Nigeria player while attempting a header.
The force of the strike warranted concern, Foudy notes. But play continued without interruption.
"You can't tell me you've done a concussion test on her," Foudy says.
Foudy also noted several instances in last year's men's World Cup where players took severe head strikes, and in some cases exhibited clear symptoms of a concussion, but were allowed to continue without any medical attention.
Says Foudy: "[FIFA] has to have some type of professional system in place to improve player safety."