Dec 19

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Youth Soccer Essentials: Fun and Safety

As parents, players, coaches, referees, and other league members and officials, our focus on Youth Soccer centers around fun and safety. For all players on the soccer field, safety is paramount. Perhaps, then, it is no surprise to learn that specific initiatives have been implemented to further address this critical nature of youth soccer as it relates to heading and substitutions.

Responding to a legal suit filed in August 2014 to bring a heightened awareness to this safety issue, the United States Soccer Federation, US Youth Soccer, as well as several other organizations, have eliminated heading for the youngest players (2007/U10).

Under a comprehensive player health and safety program called Recognize to Recover, new initiatives have been designed to:

  • Improve concussion awareness and education among youth coaches, referees, parents and players
  • Implement more uniform concussion management and return-to-play protocols for youth players suspected of having suffered a concussion
  • Modify the substitution rules to insure such rules do not serve as an impediment to the evaluation of players who may have suffered a concussion during games
  • Eliminate heading for children 10 and under and limit heading in practice for children between the ages of 11 and 13

As the parent organization of US Youth Soccer, US Soccer’s Recognize to Recover program focuses on improving concussion awareness and education among youth coaches, referees, parents and players, modifying substitution rules to allow players who may have suffered a concussion during games to be evaluated without penalty, and prohibiting the heading of the ball for children 10 and under and limiting the activity in practice only for ages 11 to 13.

Recognize to Recover was developed with the help of medical experts to reduce injuries in players of all ages. In addition to concussions, educational resources are provided on injury prevention, having a better understanding of cardiac arrest, nutrition, hydration, guidelines for playing in heat and cold weather, and managing medical emergencies. For the parents and coaches of LNYSA, you are encouraged to utilize the free resources available via LNYSA.org and the links below to become more familiar with and better educated about the signs of concussions, injury prevention, and all of the aforementioned areas of player safety.

U.S. Soccer – Recognize to Recover

LNYSA – “Know the Signs of a Concussion

Download a Concussion Information Sheet

CDC HEADS UP Concussion Education and Awareness Training: for Parents and for Coaches

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.lnysa.org/youth-soccer-essentials-fun-and-safety/