Managing Head Injuries in AYSA-Sanctioned Games

To referee youth games in Arizona, you MUST be aware of the AYSA Concussion Policy.  The first step in properly managing head injuries is the recognition of a potential 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 potential head injury.

Many resources exist on the signs and symptoms of concussion.  However, referees must look for a different set of signs and symptoms to identify potential head injuries than a medical provider would look for.  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 potential head injury, the referee must take the following steps:

  1. Remove the player from the game
  2. Notify both coaches that the player is being removed for a potential head injury
  3. Note the player's name and number on the game card
  4. Keep the player's pass - DO NOT RETURN IT TO THE TEAM
  5. Turn in the player's pass to Tournament Headquarters, Site Director, or AYSA Representative 
  6. Note the name of the person you gave the pass to
  7. Complete the ONLINE HEAD INJURY REPORT and note the name of the person taking the player's pass

If a site director is not present, the pass and report must be mailed within 24 hours to the AYSA office at:
9034 N 23rd Ave, Ste 10
Phoenix, AZ 85021. 

A player may only return to play after a doctor has signed the appropriate form and submitted it to the AYSA – not to the referee.