Soccer latest target of reform for athletes with head injuries - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Soccer latest target of reform for athletes with head injuries

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A group of parents is suing several of soccer's governing bodies.

The defendants include organizations that run events like the World Cup, all the way to youth league soccer.

The plaintiffs don't want money, though.

The group is looking for changes to concussion diagnosis policies and they even want to change strict substitution policies to let doctors find out if a player has a head injury.

The lawsuit alleges that nearly 50,000 high school soccer players suffered concussions in 2010.

The head athletic trainer at Cape Central said coaches undergo extensive training in case a player suffers head trauma.

Kate Yamada said she luckily hasn't seen many concussions in her time as athletic trainer, but she knows how damaging they can be.

Yamada said they talk to players and parents about watching out for signs of a concussion, and they work closely with physicians to check for any brain trauma.

But she said soccer players, especially females, are at risk for concussions if their muscles aren't strong enough to take that impact.

"Sometimes females just because they aren't as bulky in their neck, they aren't as stable, as muscularly strong, they're a little bit more at risk," said Cape Central High School Head Athletic Trainer Kate Yamada. "But obviously repetitive hits in the head, heading soccer. When it comes from the goalie and it's 30 or 50 yards and they've headed that ball a strong core can really help."

Yamada said they make sure players know it's better to miss one night or one game rather than the rest of the season. Or something that lasts forever.

Most states have passed concussion laws including Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois

While each law differs in the specifics they include three main principles: to educate youth athletes and coaches, take out any player with symptoms of a concussion and make sure they're cleared to play by a health care professional.

In a legal settlement just last month, the NCAA said it will toughen return-to-play rules for players who receive head blows and set up a fund to pay for thousands of athletes to undergo testing to determine whether they suffered brain trauma.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.
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