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In one school in the United Kingdom, the soccer ball has lost its recess privileges.

Due to a number of accidents last year, a junior school in Gloucester has banned leather "footballs" from the playground. Sponge or soft balls will take their place, according to the BBC.

Soccer-loving kids will be allowed to ditch the Nerf-style balls and use real ones for the school's soccer team practices and physical education classes.

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The decision is being criticized by a children's charity, reports the BBC.

Tam Fry, chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, told the BBC: "This kind of decision suits only the die hards of health and safety.

"George Best and all the football stars wouldn't have got where they are if they were kicking sponge around, they kicked footballs in the backyard and if they fell over and scarred themselves it was part of the learning curve.

"No one wants a child to be damaged by having a football kicked at them, but it's just unbelievable that we should be preventing our children learning things."

Freerange Kids advocate Lenore Skenazy nominated the news as "outrage of the week" on her blog.

"Sort of like childhood itself: That time of daring and doing gradually being replaced with a squishy-safe facsimile of adventure," she writes.

And aside from a few dissenters - and one odd story of how a nasty soccer ball head injury actually helped doctors diagnose a kid's brain tumour - Ms. Skenazy's readers are filling up her comments section with fond tales of soccer ball shiners, bumps and scrapes along the way to adulthood.

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So, soccer balls: Only under supervision? Or a recess staple? Has the debate touched down at your local school?

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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