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.

Parachute Canada Concussion Guidelines For Coaches & Trainers

In light of the ever-increasing body of research on this subject, the WUFC 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, WUFC has implemented a “no heading” rule in our Minis program. This means that there will be no heading the ball in the U5-U10 age groups – either in games or in practices. Heading a ball in a U9/10 game will result in the referee awarding an indirect free-kick 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. WUFC 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.

Additional resources:

Canada Soccer Association Concussion Policy. This resource is also use by Yukon Soccer Association as Concussion Policy and Resource

Concussion Recognition Pocket Tool.