New WYSL Rules Effective Spring 2016 Relating to Heading and Concussion Management

New WYSL Rules Effective Spring 2016 Relating to Heading and Concussion Management

  1. Heading
    1. Deliberate heading is prohibited in games in all divisions U11 and younger.
    2. When a player playing a game in one of these divisions heads the ball deliberately, in the opinion of the referee, the referee should stop play and award an indirect free kick (IFK) to the opposing team from the spot where the heading occurs. If the deliberate header occurs within the goal area (the penalty area in U8 divisions) of either team, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line (the penalty area line in U8 divisions) parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the heading occurs. 
      1. Heading the ball is NOT a violation of the Laws of the Game; it does not constitute a foul or other infraction of the Laws of the Game.
      2. Accordingly, the only consequences for deliberate heading are as set forth in this rule.
    3. If a player playing in a division U12 or older is younger than 11 at the commencement of the season, such player (x) should not head the ball during games and practices, and (y) shall not be allowed to play in WYSL games unless (A) that player’s parent or legal guardian, (B) that player’s head coach, and (C) the President of that player’s club each executes a waiver/consent in the form prescribed by the League with respect to that player’s playing in a division where heading is permitted, in which, among other things, all signatories acknowledge that the player may not head the ball in games or practices.
    4. Referees should enforce these rules by age group division and should not assess the age of individual players on the field.
  2. Game management of injuries involving the head
    1. Referee and Coach Training
      1. Referees of WYSL games shall have all concussion awareness and management training required of USSF licensed referees.
      2. WYSL coaches shall have all concussion awareness and management training required of WYSL coaches under WYSL rules.
    2. Referee discretion. Referees shall have the discretion to make determinations under these rules, and are advised by the League to err on the side of caution and player safety. Coaches, players and others are expected to respect and not argue with referees’ determinations in carrying out the language and spirit of these rules.
    3. Game stoppage.
      1. The referee shall immediately stop the game if the referee (x) observes or otherwise becomes aware of a forceful bump, blow or jolt to a player’s head or a hit to the body that results in rapid movement of the head (as a result of direct contact with another player or equipment or the ground or otherwise), or (y) becomes aware that a player is complaining about or is showing signs or reporting symptoms consistent with having suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury[1].   
      2. If a player’s coach (x) observes or otherwise becomes aware of such a bump, blow, jolt or hit, or (y) becomes aware that a player is complaining about or is showing signs or reporting symptoms consistent with having suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury, and the referee does not promptly stop the game, such coach shall attempt to get the referee’s attention (without violating applicable League rules and the Laws of the Game) and advise the referee accordingly.
    4. Removal of player from game.
      1. If the referee or a player’s coach becomes aware that a player is complaining about or is showing signs or reporting symptoms consistent with having suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury, whoever becomes so aware must remove that player from that game. To avoid any doubt, the referee and coach do not need to agree; if either becomes aware of these facts, the player must be removed from the game.
      2. Unless there a health care professional onsite who, complying with the US Soccer Recognize 2 Recover Concussion Initiative Guidelines (US Soccer Guidelines), determines that the player in question did not suffer a concussion or other traumatic brain injury and clears the player to resume play by completing and signing the Return to Play form prescribed by the League, any player so removed shall not return to play in that game.  For purposes of these rules, a “health care professional” is, as defined in the US Soccer Guidelines, a licensed professional, such as an athletic trainer certified (ATC) or physician (MD/DO), with skills in emergency care, sports medicine injuries and experience related to concussion evaluation and management.
      3. When a player is removed from a game, the referee shall (x) make a note on both the line-up card and the referee’s report that the player is suspected of having sustained a head injury (noting the input of any onsite health care professional conveyed to the referee), and (y) retain such player’s pass and send it to the League office no later than the next business day following the day of the game.
    5. Return to play in WYSL games. Any player so removed from a game shall not be permitted to play again in a WYSL game or other WYSL-sanctioned competition unless and until such player is cleared by a health care professional to resume play by completing and signing the Return to Play form prescribed by the League.
    6. Interpretation. These rules are based on the US Soccer Guidelines and the specific requirements stated here are intended to be interpreted to require no less than what is required under such Guidelines, as such Guidelines were adopted as requirements by US Club Soccer.
 

[1] See Concussion Signs and Symptoms on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 
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Phone: (914) 235-5110
Fax: (914) 235-5323
Office Location:
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Rye, New York 10580