Listen to Chelsea and Arsenal legend Petr Cech's charity single as goalkeeper raises funds to fight dementia

PETR CECH today tells football chiefs: Don’t ban heading.

The Chelsea legend, who is raising funds for a dementia charity with a Christmas single of his own, fears new laws to limit heading would ruin the game.

Cech, 38, almost lost his life after fracturing his skull during a Premier League match 14 years ago.

The keeper wore a rugby scrum cap as a safety measure for the remainder of his career with the Blues and Arsenal.

So he knows all about the dangers of head injuries in football.

As a keen drummer, he has teamed up with Wycombe boss and vocalist Gareth Ainsworth to make a Christmas record to help a cause close to their hearts.

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But one thing is clear — Cech is not in favour of banning heading, especially for kids.

This year football has lost England 1966 World Cup winners Jack Charlton and Nobby Stiles to dementia.

The FA  recently banned children under the age of 11 from heading balls in training and there have even been calls to outlaw the practice in the game, full stop.

Just last Sunday, Wolves star Raul Jimenez fractured his skull in a sickening clash of heads with Arsenal’s David Luiz.


IT’S been a year most of us want to forget — but this song makes you proud to be British.

From Sir Captain Tom Moore to England ace Marcus Rashford, this  tune  captures the most uplifting moments of 2020.

 There’s even a catchy  chorus about Santa only taking out five  reindeer because of the rule of six.

 Cech’s hands work as fast as he used to save shots on the drums — and Wycombe boss Ainsworth remains the game’s true rock star.  

Downloads are available from Friday — and it helps raise money for a great cause.

But Cech said: “We can’t take things like heading out of football because it wouldn’t be the same game. That’s not the way forward.

“There should be guidelines as to what is too much and what isn’t in training.

“In football, there are players who have a great heading technique but there are some that don’t and that’s also risky.

“If you don’t teach a kid how to head the ball in training, they can make contact with it at the wrong angle or timing and can get a serious injury from that. A player can concuss themselves.

“You have to remember children use a smaller and lighter ball — and it’s not flying past them with as much power.

“If they get into a good habit of heading, when they move up the age groups and the ball is travelling at 60mph, it won’t hurt them because they know how to do it.

“And also just the practice of jumping is important.

“If a young footballer doesn’t  perfect the art of heading from the ages of, say, six to 11, when they’re 12 there’s a risk of them seeing a ball ready to head but they don’t jump correctly and there’s a clash of heads. That’s also dangerous.”

One characteristic of humans is we always to wait for a disaster to strike before we’re more attentive to things.

Cech, who is now Chelsea’s technical chief, was lucky after he collided with Reading’s  Stephen Hunt at the Madejski Stadium.

The incident in October 2006 prompted football authorities to bring in safer protocols to deal with players who suffer head injuries.

And the Czech legend believes that, as a result of his own horror moment, players such as Jimenez, Fabrice Muamba and Ryan Mason had their lives saved.

Bolton’s Muamba had a cardiac arrest in an FA Cup game at Spurs in March 2012, while Mason suffered a fractured skull after a collision with Blues defender Gary Cahill in January 2017.

Cech, 38, said: “One of the characteristics of us humans is we always have to wait for a disaster to strike before we’re more attentive to things.

“When I had my head injury, there were no paramedics or ambulances as a compulsory part of football.

“It’s all changed since, as now you have that and all the equipment inside the stadium that is needed to deal with that type of moment.

“That helped save the life of Muamba, Raul and Mason.

“They had people at the stadium who could treat them right away.
“With head injuries, we’re going in the right direction.

“We’ve come a long way since a doctor would take one look at you and ask, ‘Can you see the ball OK?’ and that was it. You played on.”

Cech is delighted that next month’s FA Cup third round will trial concussion subs.

Players who suffer concussion can be replaced temporarily while they are being properly checked over by a doctor.

Their importance was brought into sharp focus during Arsenal’s game with Wolves last weekend. Luiz played on until half-time before being replaced as blood was still gushing from his head.

Cech said: “It works brilliantly in ice hockey.

"I know they have rolling subs but if you get concussed you go off for assessment and get replaced.

“It takes all the pressure off the manager and doctor.

“The doctor cannot properly assess if a footballer is OK in a few moments, while a manager should not have to see his team down to ten men while checks are made.

“There are now concussion tests you can do as a player on a computer and a doctor can usually make a decision within ten minutes.”

Cech — who started drumming when he was in his late 20s — was invited to play on London Country, the latest album by Wills & The Willing.

And he plays drums on a jolly record called Drawing Straws with Ainsworth that they hope can top the Christmas charts.

The song  is about Santa Claus telling his nine reindeer that only five of them can head out with  him because of the  coronavirus rule of six.

Cech added: “Our director of football operations, David Barnard, loves his music and knew Gareth well because he signed him at Wimbledon from Port Vale.

“He showed me how he performed The Wanderer in front of the Wycombe fans.

“It was great to get him on board and make it more of a football theme.

“It’s a really catchy tune. We’ve done it to put smiles on people’s faces after a tough year and make some money for great causes.”

Ainsworth, who fronts a band called The Cold Blooded Hearts, said: “Petr is a seriously good drummer.

"We had a lot of fun making it and hope it makes people smile.”

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