CONCUSSION AND HEAD INJURY
Concussions in youth sports are a growing concern and the topic has received significant media attention in the past year. To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes in the program, the MLSA has instructed all coaches to immediately pull a child from any game or practice if a concussion is suspected and not to return that child to play until cleared by a health professional or parental consent is given.
As a parent, MLSA asks that you abide by a coach's decision to pull a player, read and understand the signs and symptoms of a concussion on this CDC Concussion Fact Sheet for Youth Sports Parents, seek medical advice if a concussion is suspected, and to speak up and make the coach aware if you see a possible concussion in a game or practice that may have been missed by a coach.
Due to the risk of concussions from heading a soccer ball, US Soccer recently announced a concussion initiative on headers. PA West (the governing body of MLSA) adopted the following (effective immediately):
(1) No headers for all players age 10 years old and younger, regardless of what age group program they are playing in
(2) No headers for all players in U11 programs and younger
(3) Limited headers in practice for all players between the ages of 12 and 13 (no limits in games)
Referees will award indirect free kicks to the opposing team on violations of the USSF no header mandate
MLSA has adopted the above policy and will err on the side of caution and ask that U12 also adopt this policy of no headers
For more information about Concussions from US Soccer follow link:
Recently, PA West has partnered with SportGait, a medical technology company focused on facilitating concussion diagnoses and recovery, and PA West Soccer have partnered to provide free baseline testing for all PA West Soccer athletes through the end of 2021. The goal is athletes’ safety first.
Baseline testing is a powerful tool for measuring athletes’ physical and mental skills at the beginning of the sports season and aid in diagnosing concussions later. The tests measure gait, memory, concentration, problem solving ability, and attention. This establishes a precedent of the athlete’s condition for doctors to compare with results after a head injury.
“We’re excited to provide this opportunity to our athletes. It helps us improve player safety,” says PA West Soccer Executive Director Tim McCoy.
SportGait offers baseline testing through their new mobile app available on the App Store and Google Play. The app is an essential toolkit for coaches and parents, and there is parallel technology for medical professionals, complete with clinically approved assessments and research-backed information for educating athletes about concussions.
“I think that what makes SportGait so unique is the fact that it is portable, and it is something that can be easily implemented and used at home with mobile devices or tablets. It's very user-friendly for players, coaches, managers, parents, and athletic trainers,” says PA West Medical Director Dr. Christopher Conti.
SportGait is available now for download on Google Play and Apple App Store.