U.S. Soccer releases video to raise awareness on concussion treatment

U.S. Soccer looks to raise awareness for concussion prevention and management with new video

U.S. Soccer released a new video on Thursday to help educate the soccer community on the importance of identifying and managing concussions. The video, part of U.S. Soccer’s “Recognize to Recover” player health and safety program, aims to show the importance of the roles parents, players, coaches, refs and health professionals play in the process of returning to play following a concussion.

According to U.S. Soccer chief medical officer George Chiampas, the video is part of the federation’s efforts to create “a culture of safety around the game.”

U.S. Soccer says it reached out to various membership organizations in the making of the film and to help spread its message. Chiampas says that the plan is to have it become part of the federation’s coaching license courses and referee certification courses.

“The most important aspects are that we want players to make sure that they step forward if they’re concerned that they potentially have a concussion,” Chiampas said. “We want them to seek care. We know that is a hurdle, but we want to make sure that coaches and referees understand some of the impacts and the symptoms that concussions can have, and that they understand their responsibility with this injury. They are just as integral in ensuring that players are managed correctly, so they can return to play in an expedited and safe way, and so that they can continue to play the game they love for as long as possible. That’s of critical importance.”

Earlier this week, the video was presented on a webinar to U.S. Soccer's membership from across the country, including state associations, youth organizations and Development Academy clubs, per the federation.

U.S. Soccer implemented new rules late last year which banned heading in practices and games for players in U-11 programs and younger.  It also implemented limited heading allowances for the U-12 and U-13 age groups, a rule which is slowly being enforced in matches. If players at the U-11 or younger level head the ball, referees are instructed to award an indirect free kick. Chiampas admits that there was initial skepticism to this, but he insists that the rules have not drastically altered the game.

Above all, Chiampas says that the federation – and everyone – must realize that concussions won’t go away entirely. But they need to be more properly and safely managed.

“We need to recognize that concussions and injuries will always be a part of the game. We can never eliminate it, but what we can do is identify when the injury happens, make sure that that athlete receives the appropriate care, and that they’re completely cleared and their symptoms are resolved when they step back on the field. We can make sure that they’ve gone through all the appropriate steps so that they can continue to play the game they love as long as they want. Those are our goals."