Safer soccer balls for girls pass first North American pilot project

TORONTO, Dec. 1, 2015 /CNW/ - EIR soccer balls, used extensively in Denmark, and specifically designed to lessen injuries for girls have passed their first North American trial in a pilot project that reported no concussion, knee/ACL or ankle injuries.

The Toronto Soccer Association (TSA) trial used the EIR balls, which are smaller and lighter than the adult size 5 ball, in games for the competitive club teams playing in TSA Under 13 girls leagues in the 2015 outdoor summer season, since that age is the first year that competitive  soccer players transition from the youth size #4 ball to the larger and heavier full sized adult # 5.

The trial covered 425 girls playing for 25 club teams in 206 league and cup games over a four month outdoor summer season.

The trail was deemed very successful after replies to a post-season survey of those coaches and players reported no ball-related concussion, ankle or knee injuries.

The EIR ball was created and designed by Majken Gilmartin, a Danish soccer coach and player, who was concerned about the higher incidence of concussion, knee and ankle injuries in girls. Studies show that girls suffer about one injury per year, or much higher than boys, and research showed the ball could reduce concussion and knee/ACL injuries, and also result in a more open, more enjoyable game.

Alan Gould, Executive Director of the TSA, said "Our observational trial and the responses to our survey confirms that the girls playing with the EIR ball suffered less injuries than would be  expected from such a large group playing competitive soccer over a full outdoor season".

The survey also polled the coaches and players about the playability of the lighter and smaller EIR ball for heading, long and short passes, dribbling, free kicks, corners and shots on goal.

Players liked the ball because of the ease of heading; the ease of long passes, corners and free kicks without straining their legs or ankles; and the more open play of the game.

The coaches generally agreed with the players, but they also had some concerns about the high bounces on artificial turf  and the need to use the regular adult size 5 when they played in tournaments outside the TSA.

Jacques Konig, Vice President TSA, said "We are not suggesting that this smaller and lighter ball will automatically reduce all injures in girl's soccer, but I am impressed that this trial showed fewer injuries than would be statistically forecasted for a full summer season".

The TSA will again use the EIR ball for the U13 girls teams playing in the competitive 2016 outdoor season, possibly with a more formal analysis, while leaving open the issue of using the ball for older girl age groups.

SOURCE Toronto Soccer Association

For further information: Alan Gould, Exec Diretor, TSA, 416-783-7515 loc 27; Jacques Konig, Vice President, TSA, jacqueskonig@rogers.com

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www.torontosoccerassociation.ca

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