New WYSL Rules Effective Spring 2016 Relating to Heading and Concussion Management
Late last year, US Soccer Federation (USSF) introduced various initiatives designed to address the issue of head injuries, including concussions. Many of these initiatives were included in the US Soccer Recognize 2 Recover Concussion Initiative Guidelines (US Soccer Guidelines); certain of these initiatives were adopted as requirements by the WYSL’s umbrella organization, US Club Soccer, earlier this year, effective January 1, 2016, and earlier this week.
The League Board has adopted newrules to be effective for the spring 2016 season to implement certain of the US Soccer Guidelines, including those adopted as requirements by US Club Soccer. Here are the highlights:
Deliberate heading will be prohibited in all divisions U11 and younger. When a player playing in one of these divisions deliberately headsthe ball in a game, the referee shouldstop play and award an indirect free kick to the opposing team from the spot where the heading took place (with modifications set forth in the rules when the heading takes place inside the goal area (or penalty area in U8 divisions)). The rules also prohibit heading by any players younger than 11 playing in divisions U12 and older.
GAME MANAGEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEAD INJURIES
Referees will be required to immediately stop the game if they observe or otherwise become aware of a forceful bump, blow or jolt to a player’s head or a hit to the body that results in rapid movement of the head or theybecome aware that a player is complaining about or is showing signs or reporting symptoms consistent with having suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury. If a player’s coach becomes aware of any of these circumstances, the coach should attempt to get the referee’s attention (without violating League rules or the Laws of the Game) and convey this information.
If the referee or a player’s coach becomes aware that a player is complaining about or is showing signs or reporting symptoms consistent with having suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury, that player must be removed from the game. Unless a health care professional, as defined in the rules (and not any doctor), is onsite and determines that the player did not suffer a concussion or other traumatic brain injury and clears the player to resume play on a form to be prescribed by the League, any player so removed shall not return to play in that game. Referees shall retain the passes of any such player, who will not be allowed to return to play in any league competition until cleared to return to play by a HCP on a form to be prescribed by the League.
The heading ban, which the league has been considering for months,follows what US Club Soccer announced this week as a requirement for their member leagues. As WYSL rules apply to League play (games and other WYSL-sanctioned competitions), they do not specifically address heading during training. WYSL member clubs are required to follow the restrictions on heading during training recommended in theUS Soccer Guidelines and now required by US Club Soccer.
Coaches are urged to read the new rules in their entirety and to share this information with players and parents as appropriate. Referees will also receive orientation and training with respect to these new rules and applicable concussion protocols.US Club Soccer strongly recommends that all coaches, staff members, parents and players watch USSF's concussions in soccer overview video.Information concerning concussion signs and symptoms is also available on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Please direct any questions with respect to these new rules to Julian DiDonato at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phone: (914) 235-5110
Fax: (914) 235-5323
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Rye, New York 10580