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US Soccer, the governing organization for soccer in the United States announced Monday that new rules for “heading” a ball for soccer players. In soccer, heading a ball is simply that, hitting the ball with one’s head to move the ball forward. US Soccer’s new guidelines state that there should be no heading by any players under the age of 10. The guidelines also mandate that for children 11 to 13, heading should be limited to practices only.
The agreement comes after a lawsuit between US Soccer and parents wanting the sport to have been guidelines for handling concussions. While the new guidelines are recognizes the dangers soccer can pose, especially the dangers of heading during games, some say the settlement should have gone further arguing that the guidelines should have been implemented for older soccer players as well.
The Mayo Clinic defines a concussion as a “traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions.” While concussions typically occur by a blow to the head, a concussion can also occur from movement of the head or upper body. Symptoms of concussions are usually temporary and can last for days or weeks. In some instances, symptoms of concussions can be permanent.
Signs and symptoms of concussions include:
· Temporary loss of consciousness
· Ringing in the ears
· Slurred speech
· Delayed response time
As the public becomes more aware of the dangers of concussions, it is expected that more sporting organizations will take steps to minimize concussion risks.