A major part of parents’ daily routine is bringing their children to sports practices and games after school and on the weekend. Concussions have become a growing concern in youth sports, with soccer being one of the most popular among both young boys and girls. Now, new guidelines are being put into place to help protect kids against concussions and head trauma, and to give mothers and fathers some peace of mind.
Thanks to a group of parents who filed a class-action lawsuit regarding head injuries, The United States Soccer Federation has released a new policy on a common soccer practice known as heading the ball. Now, children 10 years old and under are banned from heading the ball entirely and players age 11-13 are restricted to heading the ball only in games, not in practice. While the regulation is mandatory for teams and clubs officially associated with U.S. Soccer, it is still highly recommended for all soccer programs across the country.
Soccer, along with football, sees the highest rate of concussions among young players. The Southwest Athletic Trainers Association, which keeps statistics for youth sports safety, reports that close to 250,000 children went to the emergency room in a single year due to concussions and other head trauma related to playing sports. The numbers are even higher for high school athletes with 400,000 concussions occurring during one school year.
The dangerous effects from concussions are being discussed more than ever before and include everything from ongoing headaches and dizziness to continued memory loss and diminished motor skills. Coaches on every level are being instructed to pay closer attention to any player who may have suffered a concussion. Most importantly, athletes suspected of having a head injury should not return to the game, even if they say they feel fine. Failure to do so can easily increase the severity of a brain injury. Coaches and school officials have a responsibility to supervise what is happening with their players and students.
Some of the symptoms coaches and parents can look out for include:
- balancing problems or dizziness
- nausea or vomiting
- double or blurry vision
- confusion, concentration issues or memory loss (i.e.: answering questions slowly, not knowing what happened before or after the injury)
If a concussion is suspected, the athlete should see the proper medical professional as soon as possible and be given ample time to recover.
Playing sports is a big part of adolescence and parents need to know the health and safety of their children is a priority. Some school districts and youth leagues have implemented concussion policies which parents can look into before practices and games begin. If your child has suffered a concussion or head injury during an organized sporting event, or on a playground, contact an experienced attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C. Sports are a great way to keep children active and practice teamwork. It should not be something that could negatively affect the rest of their lives.