WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?
A concussion is a brain injury that cannot be seen on routine x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. It affects the way a person may think and remember things, and can cause a variety of symptoms.
In light of the ever-increasing body of research on this subject, the Lakehill Board has had recent discussions regarding the effects and symptoms of concussions and our club protocols around them. We think it is important to educate all our members about concussions, and the steps necessary to minimize the occurrence of them.
Given the current research results, Lakehill has decided to implement a "no heading" rule in our Minis program. This ban means that there will be no heading in U9/10 and below, either in games or practices. In practical terms, heading a ball in any game will result in the referee awarding an indirect freekick to the other team. Heading a ball during practice is strongly discouraged, and coaches shall not design any drill or exercise around the skill of heading.
These rules have already been implemented on a national level by U.S. Soccer from U11 down, and we believe that is a proactive step in the right direction. The Canadian Soccer Association has released documents and protocols on concussions, but have not (yet) followed suit in banning it at younger ages. Lakehill has decided to take a proactive approach and implement our own age-specific ban.
It is important to note that concerns around concussions are not just a result of the effect of a soccer ball hitting the head, but also about the clashing of upper body and head that can occur when an attempt is made to head the ball. Young children are particularly vulnerable, due to their still-developing brains, muscles and skeletal structure. It also important to note that most concussions do not include a loss of consciousness.