Is U.S. Soccer losing their headers, whilst all those around them are keeping theirs?
Concussion Injuries In Youth Soccer
Concussion injuries are very real. Not only is the real issue of concussion injuries making its debut on the Silver Screen in the new movie "Concussion" starring the world-famous actor Will Smith (see Official Concussion Movie Trailer), but it is also making waves in the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). On Monday of this week, the USSF addressed a number of initiatives involving safety in youth sports. At the forefront of this meeting, a policy was set into place setting limits on players heading the ball. This policy to end a proposed class-action suit filed against the USSF and others which will set regulations against players 10 years and younger from utilizing the technique of heading the ball in order to reduce the risk concussion. The class action suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the State of California against FIFA, U.S. Soccer and the AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization). Parents and players argued that these organizations were negligent in the handling and treatment of head injuries. The main problem appeared to be with some of the Laws of the Game which are used internationally as the standard of play. The measure will also reduce headers used in practice for older athletes ages 11-13 years of age.
This wide-spread regulation is mandatory for all U.S. soccer youth national academies and teams and all Major League Soccer Youth Club teams. Those teams and clubs not falling under the purview of the USSF will not be required to comply; however, in light of premise behind these regulations, there are considerations which independent soccer associations and soccer programs should address.
“What we’re establishing is creating parameters and guidelines with regards to the amount of exposure” to potential head injuries, George Chiampas, U.S. Soccer’s chief medical officer, said in a conference call with reporters. He added that the science on concussions and youth soccer was still evolving, and so would U.S. Soccer’s policies. - From the New York Times
These and other changes to policies surrounding the issue of youth player concussions will come into play over the course of the next several weeks. Many of these initiatives aimed at dealing with youth players who may have already sustained or are suspected as having had a concussion.It has been cited that almost 50,000 high school soccer players had sustained one or more concussions in 2010, this is more than in any other sport combined (with the exception of American football). Since helmets are not a part of the sport and collision injuries are also a major contributor, whether or not heading the ball is the cause of all of these cases reported, it is likely that many are.
See More About Concussion Injuries From U.S. Soccer Video
At Britannia Soccer Academy we focus on playing the game of soccer in a way that is fun and safe. We are aware of the risk of concussion injury and teach athletes to use their heads when using their heads. When techniques and skills are performed correctly the likelihood of injuries is vastly decreased.
We feel that rather than banning the use of heading the ball, why not teach the correct technique to players so they understand how to head the ball.
We agree that it is in the safety interest of the players but this has a lot more questions than answers. Will there be fouls given for players that use a header during a game? Will it be a yellow card? Will it be a penalty if it is inside the box? How will this now be officiated? Only time will tell but this could get out of hand.
We will be using these rules within our soccer coaching programs and when the time is right, we will teach the players the correct technique to head the ball into our training.
For more information about Britannia Soccer Academy, our training, or to join give us a call today, or fill out our convenient contact form below.
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