As of last week, USClub joined NJYS in mandating the concussion and heading protocol. You can explore the entire Recognize to Recover program by clicking here. This WILL IMPACT ALL U11 AND YOUNGER TEAMS THIS SEASON!! Here are the two biggest policy/rules changes:
A. If a player is suspected to have a head injury/concussion, the referee has the authority to remove the player for the remainder of the game. I would hope that our staff is already practicing this currently with any player suspected of having a head injury. Now it is in the bylaws and the referees have the authority to remove a player from the game if they suspect a head injury has occurred.
B. Heading for teams U11 and younger is now banned. This policy has been instituted to protect the health and safety of our youngest players. This means NO HEADING in practice and games! Our leagues have now adopted the rule that if a player purposely heads a ball in a game, the opposing team will be awarded a free kick at the spot of the header. Trainers and Coaches will immediately institute this policy in practice and share this information with players. Remember, this is NOW in place and applies to U11 teams and younger. There are guidelines for heading in practice for U12 and older, which are being refined now. Once we have a clearer understanding of these policies they will be implemented as well.