By Carly Hill
Each year, millions of children participate in youth soccer programs across the United States.
According to US Youth Soccer, 3.5 million children participate in indoor and outdoor soccer programs annually.
Recently, after controversies in the 2014 World Cup where players who sustained head injuries were allowed to continue playing, soccer, like tackle football, has been working to increase concussion awareness and ways to protect players from head injuries.
Last year, as a result of these efforts, the American Academy of Pediatrics released recommendations for youth soccer that playing the ball with one’s head, called “heading”, should be minimized as much as possible and the American Youth Soccer Organization and US Soccer has banned heading the ball for all U-11 and below.
West Nashville Sports Leagues, in line with these recommendations, has, for the first time, implemented a rule to prevent intentional headers in both our Fall and Winter indoor soccer seasons.
Jay Wellons, a coach in the WNSL Late Fall Soccer League, supports this new rule.
“As a pediatric neurosurgeon who sees brain and spine injury every day,” says Wellons,
“I have no hesitation in following these mandates by organized youth soccer. It’s the right thing,” the coach added.
WNSL feels that promoting player safety fits with it’s mission of teaching children the values of teamwork, good sportsmanship, and learning the game the right way instead of playing “win at all costs” sports.
If you would like to learn more about WNSL Soccer programs, please visit us online at WNSL.org.
Concussion Safety Taken Seriously at WNSL