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New Jersey Youth Soccer

Concussion Education Presented by HeadCheck Health

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. In the United States, participation in youth soccer is increasing with 3 million children aged 7-17 years taking part each year, according to U.S. Youth Soccer. With these increasing participation numbers, more head injuries and concussions are occurring in the sport.

The U.S. Youth Soccer program takes concussions and head injuries very seriously. Their official procedures and protocols should be followed by all involved in order to ensure the safety of the youth athletes.

What is a Concussion?

According to the CDC, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury from a blow to the head or hit to the body that causes the brain to move back and forth within the skill and interferes with normal brain function. A concussion can occur in the absence of loss of consciousness.

Concussion Facts and Figures in Youth Soccer

Concussions are common in youth soccer. Of all youth soccer injuries seen in the emergency room, approximately 7% were concussions and head injuries. Most of these occurred in adolescent (ages 12-17) soccer players. (Source: ABC News)

In soccer, concussions are most likely to happen during direct contact with another player or contact with the ball during “heading.

What To Do If a Concussion is Suspected

If your child shows one or more of the above signs/symptoms of a concussion, remove them from play and consider seeking medical attention.

When Emergency Treatment is Needed:

According to the U.S. Soccer Concussion Procedure and Protocol for U.S. Youth Soccer events, seek emergency treatment when one or more of the following signs/symptoms are present:

  • Spine or neck injury or pain
  • Behavior patterns change, unable to recognize people/places, less responsive than usual
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headaches that worsen
  • Seizures
  • Very drowsy, can't be awakened
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Increasing confusion or irritability
  • Weakness, numbness in arms and legs

When No Emergency Treatment is Needed:

If a concussion is suspected and your child does not need emergency treatment,  remove your child from play and monitor them for the above signs/symptoms every 5-10 minutes for the next 1-2 hours. Do not allow them to return to play. Consider restricting them from physical and cognitive activities for the next 24 hours and until you can seek professional medical care.

The athlete (and their parent/guardian, if present) should complete the Concussion Notification Form. This form should be signed by a team official of the athlete’s team. When the parent or guardian is not present, the team official who signed the form is responsible for notifying the athlete’s parent/guardian as soon as possible. The team official must document how the parent/guardian was contacted and provide a copy of the Concussion Notification Form.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

After a head injury, your child may show one or more of the following signs and symptoms of a concussion:

  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Odd or irregular behavior
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or sounds
  • Difficulty remembering in the short-term or long-term
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed reactions
  • Irritability
  • Loss of balance

Return to Play

It is recommended that your athlete see a healthcare provider that specializes in concussion management. Those healthcare providers who are specialized in concussions are most up-to-date on the latest evidence. Ask your providers if they specialize in concussion care and management.

According to the U.S. Youth Soccer Concussion Protocol, an athlete with a possible concussion may return to U.S. Youth Soccer play only after signed clearance from a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy specializing in concussion treatment and management.


There are several concussion tools and resources available to those involved in U.S. Youth Soccer, including the following:

U.S. Youth Soccer Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


About the Page Author

The content from this page is presented by HeadCheck Health and authored by Dr. Jennifer Hunnicutt, a licensed athletic trainer with a PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Science, who has worked with all types of athletes, including professionals and Olympians. She has held prominent research positions at Emory Sports Medicine and the NBA Hawks Center in Atlanta, GA, as well as serving on the national network of healthcare providers for U.S. Figure Skating. Now the owner of Hunnicutt Writing and Consulting, LLC, Dr. Hunnicutt collaborates with global institutions, spearheading innovation and research among professionals and businesses in Sports Medicine and Orthopedics. Learn more at

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New Jersey Youth Soccer

3 Paragon Way, Suite 400
Freehold, New Jersey 07728

Phone: 609-490-0725
Email: [email protected]

New Jersey Youth Soccer

3 Paragon Way, Suite 400
Freehold, New Jersey 07728

Phone: 609-490-0725
Email: [email protected]
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