Following the resolution of a class action lawsuit regarding youth soccer concussion, the United States Soccer Federation has recently announced an upcoming player safety campaign that will include new youth soccer initiatives in part to improve concussion awareness, provide more uniform concussion management and eliminate heading in the youngest players.
“The genesis for developing the campaign was unrelated to the lawsuit, as U.S. Soccer has been working on a player safety campaign since long before the lawsuit was filed,” a press release from U.S. Soccer noted. “The campaign was developed with the help of medical experts to provide coaches, players, parents and referee with information, guidance and additional educational materials to improve the management of injuries, including concussions.”
The new guidelines will eliminate heading the soccer ball for children aged 10 years and younger. Children between 11 years and 13 years, will be allowed to head the ball in game situations, but this technique will be limited during practices, according to the press release.
In addition to the heading guidelines, new rules will be put into place to allow for additional substitutions for athletes who may have had a concussion. According to the release, more uniform concussion management rules will be set into place, as well as return-to-play protocols, in the coming months.