Archive for November, 2012

Head Injury Guidelines: Where is Youth Soccer Heading?

Written by PC News on . Posted in Medical, News, Players

Concussion awareness has greatly increased in all sports over the past few years. In soccer, where the act of heading the ball is an integral part of the game, the discussion has been going on a bit longer. Yet, youth soccer could be said to be behind the other sports in terms of developing and implementing guidelines for recognizing and diagnosing concussions. Years ago medical studies on retired professionals indicated a heightened level of brain damage that was immediately (and not very scientifically) attributed to heading the ball. Moreover, many people rushed to conclude that heading itself posed a risk to youth players based on a study of people who played and trained professionally over the course of decades. The science wasn’t and still isn’t there to support such an inference. However, it does highlight the need for awareness.

Most head injuries in soccer occur from collisions between players or between players and objects such as the goal post. While we certainly should make sure coaches are teaching heading properly, our focus in a risk management area would look at the more likely causes of concussion, and establish a framework for managing concussion injuries. What guidelines do you have in place for your club?

A few points to remember:

1. Concussions often occur with no loss of consciousness
2. Symptoms include a change in level of alertness, confusion, vomiting and extreme sleepiness
3. Players showing symptoms of a concussion should not be returned to the game and should be seen in an ER immediately
4. A player is not ready to resume competition just because symptoms have subsided. Doctors will often recommend several weeks of no physical activity after the symptoms end.
5. Risk of permanent brain injury increases with successive concussions.

A concussion awareness plan should provide for (a) medical evaluation; (b) return to activity guidelines; and (c) tracking of prior head injuries. At all times, be guided by the medical recommendations, not the subjective feelings of the player or parent. Concussion awareness should be part of your volunteer training program.

For more information or help in developing a concussion awareness plan, contact us!

Philly.com article on concussion awareness.

Goal Post Safety – Spot Check Finds Unanchored Goals

Written by PC News on . Posted in Field Safety

Goal post safety has been a focus of youth soccer risk management for many years. Since 1979, nearly 40 young people have died from soccer goal accidents. Wrongful death lawsuits resulting from unanchored goals have resulted in multimillion dollar settlements. Consumer warnings are now included with goal, and governing bodies have created inspection policies. But are they enforced?

In a recent Massachusetts investigation, a Boston television news team inspected soccer goals in nine communities. In six of the communities they found unanchored goals. In many cases, sandbags were laying next to or near the goals, but not being used to anchor them. During the visits, the news team saw a child swinging from the crossbar of an unanchored goal! (Read the full story here.)

If you were to inspect your fields today, what would the results show? Annual goal post inspections may be a mandated procedure, but club’s should have policies developed for more regular inspection, and procedures to follow anytime a goal is moved. Lightweight training goals should be the preferred “mobile” goal, with the heavier goals left only for game use and securely anchored.

Sharing Information Between Clubs – UPDATE

Written by PC News on . Posted in Contractors, Molestation, Volunteer Screening

Additional reports on the story reported below indicate that the same coach who was arrested had been sued in 2000 over allegations of sexual abuse. (Read Story)

In sum, the coach had been:

* Sued in 2000 for sexual abuse in California;
* Fired in 2008 for undisclosed reasons in Oregon; and
* Subsequently hired at another gymnastics school

prior to being arrested for allegedly photographing young gymnasts in the changing room. Most commercially available background check systems used by youth sports groups will not turn up civil lawsuits. Previous terminations do not turn up in background checks. Could information sharing have prevented the crimes he is currently accused of? When a new coach volunteers with your organization, what steps do you take beyond running a criminal background check. If you terminate a volunteer based on complaints or suspicion, will the next club know?

Let us guide you in developing a comprehensive volunteer screening program.