Dear Footballers

Thick as a parrot: a new American study claims that repeatedly heading the ball can make footballers lose up to ten IQ points.So what else is new?

Psychopaths blame their parents, actors blame critics and politicians blame the press, so why shouldn't you blame the ball? What do you mean "Ball?" The ball. The ball,: the big, round white leather thing you're paid to kick around the pitch. The pitch. The big, square green thing... I absolutely refuse to do this. Let's get back to the ball. That's right, the big, round white leather thing. You're getting good at this, aren't you? American researcher Dr Adrienne Witol tested 60 of you guys, aged between 19 and 29, all playing up to five times a week, and she discovered - these are highly complex technical terms - that footballers are as thick as milk shake, and only half as sweet.

It's heading the ball: having 13ozs crash against your noggin at 60mph more than 10 times during a game not only ruins your hairstyle, it can lose you IQ points, and boys, when you weren't exactly first in the (I) queue to begin with, you really don't want to be demoted from an average of 112 - heading the ball once a game - to 103 (ten times or more a game) and forever after have trouble passing concentration tests. For instance, try supplying ready answers to the following trick questions, what's your name?/who do you play for?/how many pounds make a bung? .

Now, I'm not suggesting all footballers move their lips when other people are reading. Eric Cantona, for instance, is known for perusing the great philosophers and penning poetry. And for taking flying kicks at fans. Hmm. Perhaps not the best example. Let's try again: Jurgen Klinsman, now, he's a famous (you should pardon the expression) head case, and he can organise sentences that are stunning in their grasp of life's essentials. "pounds 20,000 a week sounds nice to me", and "I'm off to bank those millions in Munich, English schweinhunds, ha ha ha" - precise, rigorous, certain. And who would dare argue that someone who can count up to four million plus isn't smart?

But Jurgen is the exception, not the rule (for a start he speaks better English than most of his erstwhile Tottenham team mates). The rule is footballers who can co-ordinate their limbs but not their wardrobes - Gazza! Is Helen Keller your personal shopper? - who can't face a camera without coming over all Terry Christian, and nasty, totally unfounded nicknames like poor Arsenal captain Tony Adams' match-time moniker of Donkey, which is surely meant not as a slur on his intellect, but as a celebration of another part of his anatomy.

I know, I know. It's not as if you fellas have to be rocket scientists. But it would be good if you could, just once, be seen in public ordering lunch without sounding like Lenny from Of Mice and Men, durh, durh, durh. It's easily accomplished. Sound medical advice: next time you see that big, round white leather thing coming at you, move your head around so it doesn't always impact on the same spot. Spread the damage, or, to put it in terms you'll immediately understand: remember, it's a brain with two halves.

John Lyttle

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn