To referee youth games in Arizona, you MUST be aware of the ASA Concussion Policy. The first step in properly managing head injuries is the recognition of a possible injury. Note that a soccer referee is not in a position to make a diagnosis of concussion, regardless of one's medical expertise or training. Referees may only remove players due to possible head injury.
Many resources exist on the signs and symptoms of concussion. However, referees must sometimes look for a different set of signs and symptoms, or clues, to identify possible head injuries. Some of those clues referees can use include:
- Noticeable injury, such as a knot, swelling, or blood
- A player grasping or reaching for his/her head
- Lack of balance or ability to move properly
- Inability to visually focus
- Inability to communicate properly
- Loss of consciousness
In all youth soccer matches, if there is a possible head injury, the referee must take the following steps:
- Remove the player from the game
- Notify both coaches that the player is being removed for a possible head injury
- Note the player's name and number on the game card
- Keep the player's pass - DO NOT RETURN IT TO THE TEAM
- Turn in the player's pass to Tournament Headquarters, Site Director, or ASA Representative
- Note the name of the person you gave the pass to
- Within 24 hours, complete the ONLINE HEAD INJURY REPORT and note the name of the person taking the player's pass
A youth athlete may not return, regardless of how quickly symptoms clear, until he/she has been treated by a licensed heath care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion and has received written clearance to return to play from that professional. Written clearance may ONLY be provided to ASA, not to the referee.
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