Head injuries and concussions continue to be a hot topic for all sports around the world. With other sports like American football taking active leads in prevention and identification of injuries, it makes sense that, as the world’s most popular sport, soccer would be leading the way in research and awareness.
To much attention, the US Soccer Federation banned or reduced headers for players under the age of 11 a few years ago. Although that certainly helps with prevention, we need good information available to everyone to help identify concussions and head injuries. As part of their Recognize to Recover initiative, US Soccer has a treasure trove of information available for coaches, players, parents, and referees to help recognize concussions.
“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.”
Changes in Brain Functions (unaware of game details, amnesia, don’t know dates or times), Mental and Emotion changes (depression, anxiety, anger), Physical changes (headache, dizziness, loss of balance), and changes in Sleep are all factors that we need to keep an eye out for. If a head injury has occurred, US Soccer recommends Remove (remove immediately from play), Evaluate (have them evaluated by a healthcare professional), and Rest (never rush a player until cleared by a medical professional).
You can also download a daily symptoms checklist if you want to evaluate players after a head injury or for pre/post match analysis. Be sure to upload it to your documents in the FC Link app. Let’s stay safe and healthy out there on the pitch.