Concussions in NCAA Soccer

by John Puglisi, NISOA Past - President, NISOA National clinician and NISOA local assessor.

Proper concussion identification, management and treatment is a point of emphasis by the NCAA in all sports. The 2010-2011 NCAA Soccer Rules Book specifies players indicating any sign of concussion (Rule must be substituted for and not permitted to returned until after medical personnel has given clearance. Game officials must be aware of the signs of a concussion and ensure the player does not return until after having received clearance from medical personnel.

There are two major parts of this rule application:

  • Know the signs of a concussion.
  • Know who is the appropriate medical personnel that can provide clearance.

We strongly recommend officials view the online course, Concussions in Sports – What You Need to Know prepared by the National Federation of High Schools. The course is provided free of charge (you are required to register on their training web site) and will provide you with an understanding of how to recognize the signs of a concussion and the impact of a concussion on the health of a student athlete. Since 90% of all concussions do not result in loss of consciousness, recognizing signs of most concussions is subjective.

During the rules interpretation process, the definition of “medical personnel” has been a significant topic of discussion. While the definition might evolve over time, a “certified athletic trainer” is currently considered to be “medical personnel”. Please be aware that not all athletic trainers are certified by the Board of Certification. We strongly recommend the team of officials ask both teams to identify their certified athletic trainer or physician present at the game site before the match begins.

We will discuss concussions at each chapter meeting this year so we are all consistent in applying this very important rule.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010 at 2:50 pm and is filed under Instruction with keyword(s) . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Comments so far

  1. Members of the public can verify an athletic trainers (ATs) certification status with the Board of Certification from the web by going to the following link:

    If an AT does not appear on this list you can call the BOC between 8:30am and 5:00pm CT Monday through Friday for more information.

  2. John Puglisi says:

    The Center for Disease Control has an excellent web page describing how to recognize the signs of a sports concussion.