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
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all