This week the United States Soccer Federation introduced new safety initiatives to reduce head injuries for young athletes. The new regulations will prohibit players 10 years of age or younger from heading the ball and limits headers in practice for athletes ages 11 to 13. These new policies will be mandatory for U.S. Soccer youth national teams and academies, including Major League Soccer youth club teams, starting in December 2015. U.S Soccer is strongly encouraging all other youth soccer leagues to follow these new guidelines.
In addition to the changes in headers, the new safety initiative includes improved concussion awareness and education for the coaches, parents, players and referees. Protocols are also being put in place for more uniform concussion management and protocols for returning to play after a suspected concussion. Currently, the substitution rules have made it challenging for the players or coaches to treat concussions during play, but those rules are changing as well to encourage proper care of concussions during games.
Concussions can cause vision problems such as blurred vision, difficulty focusing the eyes, difficulty coordinating the eyes together, light sensitivity and changes to peripheral vision. Sometimes glasses or contact lenses are needed to provide clear vision, help the eyes to focus or work together as a team. Vision therapy may be recommended to rehabilitate the brain’s ability to control and focus the eyes. Many of the common visual problems after a mild concussion can be successfully treated with vision therapy.
If you or your child have suffered a concussion, call our office to schedule an eye examination to evaluate for vision complications.