New heading rules for youth soccer players

New heading rules for youth soccer players

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Soccer players ages 10 and under are eliminating one soccer technique: heading the ball.

U.S. Soccer, which is the governing body for the sport in the United States, announced a player safety campaign this week, including the elimination of heading for the youngest players, and limiting heading to practice for players ages 11-13.

The statement said it was a recommendation for youth members since some do not have the direct authority at the local level to require adaptation of the rules. The soccer organization made the decision to launch the campaign after concussion litigation was resolved against U.S. Soccer, United States Youth Soccer Association, American Youth Soccer Organization, US Club Soccer and the California Youth Soccer Association.

The U.S. Youth Soccer Association estimated 13 percent of the 900,000 soccer players in grades 6-8 suffer from concussions each year, with 30.5 percent of those being directly linked to heading.

University of Southern Mississippi professor Dr. Scott Piland said a major point of the new recommendations call for better medical coverage and better concussion education for players, parent and coaches.