U.S. SOCCER CONCUSSION GUIDELINES
A main component of Recognize to Recover is focused on head injuries, including concussions. U.S. Soccer has taken a lead in education, research and proposing rule changes to improve player safety for several years. For the most up-to-date guideline information please visit www.recognizetorecover.org.
U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative 2016
In December of 2015, U.S. Soccer unveiled the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative that provides information guidelines that have been implemented since January of 2016.
The elements contained in the initiative are intended to give U.S. Soccer Organization Members, as well as players, parents, team/club staff and coaches and referees, guidance and direction when dealing with head injuries and potential head injuries during soccer participation.
Included in the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative are specific changes to rules on substitutions and heading for certain age groups. Those changes included:
- Modify substitution rules to allow players who may have suffered a concussion during games to be evaluated without penalty
- Eliminating heading for children 10 and under
- Please note that U11 is listed in the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative document because U11 players can be 10 years old at the beginning of the season
- Limiting the amount of heading in practice for children between the ages of 11 and 13
For more information, please refer to the frequently asked questions, which should help clarify questions regarding the new initiatives.
A concussion can be difficult to recognize on the field. Most occur without a loss of consciousness or an obvious sign that something is wrong with a player’s brain function. They can occur at any time throughout games or practice, as a blow to the head or body from contact with the ground, the ball or another player. Working with leading physicians for more than a decade, U.S. Soccer created Recognize to Recover resources that will help coaches, players, parents and referees identify the signs and symptoms of concussion and immediately take action with the appropriate treatment.