Medical experts have demanded annual brain screenings for all footballers playing for first and second division clubs in Germany. They also recommend checking youth players, according to Bild newspaper.
In a bid to stop brain injuries amongst Bundesliga players, the medical commission of the German Football Federation (DFB) said it would make annual brain scans mandatory for all first and second division players.
The screenings will be implemented in the annual health checkups and launched next season, according to the Sunday report by the mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag paper.
"Acute head injuries are a danger for athletes, and clubs, and doctors are regularly told about it," German Football League (DFL) director Andreas Nagel told the paper.
"By introducing mandatory baseline screening, we are making the handling of head injuries in football more professional," he added.
Memories of Kramer
The medical experts also recommend checking young players in football academies yearly. According to the DFB, players younger than 13 should not practice stopping the ball with their heads for risk of head injury, and should instead train with balloons.
Sports medicine experts have long warned of the dangers of football-related head injuries, including those sustained when jumping over opposing players to claim the ball. In Germany, the issue was thrown into focus after the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina in Brazil. During the match, then 23-year-old Christoph Kramer (pictured above) appeared visibly disoriented after colliding with Argentina's Ezequiel Garay. Kramer proceeded to ask the referee, twice, if the game he was taking part in was the final. He was then taken off the pitch and his recollection of the match remains sketchy to this day.
A UK study published in 2017 found that professional footballers suffer increased risk of brain damage, similar to boxers or American football players.
dj/jlw (dpa, SID)