U.S. Soccer Federation Releases Concussion Initiative, Mandatory Heading Guidelines
In an effort to prevent concussions among younger athletes, the U.S. Soccer Federation recently released a statement outlining regulations regarding heading as part of its comprehensive concussion initiative. The guidelines either limit or completely eliminate heading during practice and games based on age. The guidelines include the following:
Players 10 years old and younger are prohibited from heading in practice and in games. In addition, since U11 competition may have players 11 years old, those players are prohibited from heading in practice and games as well.
For players 11-13 years old, heading will be allowed in games; however, heading should be limited in practice to 30 minutes per week and no more than 20 headers per player, per week.
Players 10 years old playing up in an older age group should still not be heading the ball at all in practice or games.
Regarding substitutions, any player suspected of suffering a head injury may be substituted for evaluation without the substitution counting against the team’s total number of allowed substitutions during the game.
For more details on the U.S. Soccer Federation’s heading guidelines, go to www.ussoccer.com.