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Kansas State Referee Committee Concussion Policy

If it appears, in even the slightest case, that a player or players may have sustained some type of a possible head injury, stop the game immediately, beckon on the coach to attend to the player, follow USSF protocol on having the player go to the sidelines, before they can return.  There is only one exception: the goalkeeper does not have to leave the field of play.  Certainly, in every case, tell the coach, there may be a possible head injury, then remove yourself from the area of the injury, let the coach/trainer attend to the player.  If trained medical personal are on site, then they will determine whether or not the player is concussed, and make the decision on whether or not that player may return.

YOU MUST ERROR ON THE POSSIBILTY THAT THERE MAY BE HEAD TRAUMA, RATHER THAN DOING NOTHING OR ALLOWING THE BALL TO LEAVE THE FIELD, PRIOR TO TAKING ACTION.  YOU ARE NOT AN EXPERT, DON'T ASK IF THE PLAYER IS OK THEN PROCEED WITH PLAY. GET THE COACH OR MEDICAL PERSONNEL IF PRESENT ON THE FIELD IN EVERY INSTANCE.

As part of U.S. Soccer's Player Safety Campaign, U.S. Soccer unveiled the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative that provides guidelines that have been implemented since January of 2016.

The information contained in the initiative is intended to give U.S. Soccer Organization Members, as well as players, parents, team/club staff and coaches and referees, guidance and direction when dealing with head injuries and potential head injuries during soccer participation.

Included in the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative are specific changes to rules on substitutions and heading for certain age groups. Those changes included:

  • Modify substitution rules to allow players who may have suffered a concussion during games to be evaluated without penalty
  • Eliminating heading for children 10 and under
    • Please note that U11 is listed in the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative document because U11 players can be 10 years old at the beginning of the season
  • Limiting the amount of heading in practice for children between the ages of 11 and 13

In addition to the safety initiatives, the following modified rule should be implemented:

  • When a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick (IFK) should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense.  If the deliberate header occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred. If a player does not deliberately head the ball, then play should continue.

If you have additional questions, contact the SRA Bill Davey.