MedWatch-Concussions in soccer

MedWatch-Concussions in soccer

(ABC) -When it comes to sports that carry a risk of head injury, high impact sports such as football or hockey often come to mind, but there are other sports that carry risks.

Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Andrew Russman says doctors are learning that milder impact sports, such as soccer, are being recognized for carrying a degree of risk for head injuries.

"We're just learning more about what are the long-term impacts of repetitive heading of the ball, and how we can reduce concussions further that occur not only in soccer, but in collision sports as football or in ice hockey," Dr. Russman said.

U.S. Soccer recently introduced a program called 'recognize to recover' in an effort to reduce player injuries and promote safe play. With this new program, information about head injuries and new guidelines regarding concussions will be provided to soccer coaches, players, parents and referees.

New rules prohibit heading of the ball for children under age 10 and limit heading to practices and only for children between ages 11 and 13. Dr. Russman says that sports safety rules are important not only for the participants, but for the betterment of the sport as well.

"I think you can create requirements and penalties, but really there has to be an understanding that the sport survives because of rule changes that make it safer," Dr. Russman said.

Dr. Russman says new youth sports standards, such as the new standards being set forth by U.S. Soccer, are vital to holding organizers to a high standard of ensuring the safety of the participants at every level of the game.

In other health news, be sure to mark your calendar for the free skin cancer screenings at the Leah M. Fitch Cancer Center in Lawton. It will be held on Saturday, May 14, from 8 a.m. until noon. To schedule an appointment, call 580-250-6565.

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