Recognizing concussion symptoms may save your life.
For generations, athletes took blows to the head and kept right on playing. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the game. Coaches, teammates and fans may depend on you. But getting hit again and again can permanently damage your brain. It can even kill you. Continue reading Recognize Concussion Symptoms→
UPDATE: Referees may stop soccer matches for up to three minutes while the team doctor decides if a player can stay in the game in European competitions, wire services are reported on Thursday.
Gianni Infantino, the secretary general of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), said the policy was approved by the organization’s executive committee and will take effect immediately, according to Reuters.
My Original Story
Should referees stop a soccer game if a player gets hit hard in the head? Should team doctors should overrule coaches in deciding if a player stays in the game?
The answers to both questions seem obvious, but they are only now trickling into the minds of soccer’s governing body.
California’s new law restricts full contact in high school and middle school tackle football practices to two sessions of 90 minutes each per week during the season. It prohibits these practices off season.
As a soccer coach, I’ve often yelled at my players to head the ball before it reaches the ground.
And anyone who has watched the World Cup this year knows what a beautiful role heading plays in the game, with Robin van Persie’s goal in the Netherlands vs. Spain game a prime example.
But given the latest medical reports, I’m beginning to wonder how much I should push my team of 16-year-olds to hit the ball with their heads. Today, former U.S. women’s team star Brandi Chastain joined a couple of nonprofit advocacy groups in calling on new rules to restrict the use of heading among young players.
I used to love tackle football. Big for my age, I enjoyed the collision with other bodies. I never played on a team, just with a bunch of high school friends. We had no helmets or pads. We couldn’t hit each other too hard, or we’d get hurt ourselves, and we certainly never used our heads as weapons.
I wonder what would be the incidence of concussion now if that’s how people played competitive football. Studies in rugby have generally shown that helmets don’t prevent concussion in that sport.
The research on concussions is pretty mixed as it is. I covered an interesting study on this for Medscape and Healthline when I was in New Orleans in March for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual meeting. Gregory W. Stewart, chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Tulane University School of Medicine told me high school football players he studied didn’t seem to be sustaining serious injuries.
Tracking 1,289 Louisiana high school football players from 1997 to 2000, he and his colleagues found that the more time the teenagers spent on the field, the better they did on tests of their mental abilities.