AYSO Concussion Policy Announced

The AYSO Safe Haven and Safety Director programs have been promoting since 2009 the recommendations provided by the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Heads Up program for concussion awareness and safety. Since then, 35 states plus the District of Columbia have passed concussion legislation, most of which came onto the books within the last year. Other states have similar laws pending.

In response to increasing concerns about the potential risks associated with concussions and to these new state laws, the AYSO National Board of Directors launched a Concussion Task Force to develop recommendations for AYSO Regions and families. The NBOD has approved its recommendations:
  • Use of the AYSO/CDC Concussion Information Sheet to inform all parents and players about the signs and symptoms of concussion and the associated risks. Find the Information Sheet at: http://www.ayso.org/resources/safety.aspx
  • Encourage ALL coaches, referees, and Section, Area and Region Board Members to take the CDC’s free online Concussion Awareness Training at: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html or soon to be available at www.aysotraining.org. Volunteers who take the course on the CDC website should print a copy of the Certificate of Completion and forward it to the Safe Haven Department at the National Office where training records will be updated.
  • Any player suspected by the coach, referee or parent to have a concussion must be removed from further participation for at least the remainder of the day, and
  • Parents should be encouraged to seek professional medical treatment at the time of injury and secure medical clearance before being allowed to return to play. In all cases, AYSO will require the parent to sign a new Participation Release Form which includes a concussion waiver confirming that the player has been given the appropriate clearance to return to play.
In the states with concussion legislation that impacts AYSO’s programs, Regions must comply with the state law requirements. Those requirements typically include obtaining and saving signed AYSO/CDC Information Sheets, requiring the CDC Concussion Awareness training for coaches and other “officials” specified in the law, and obtaining a participation release form signed by a medical professional. These concussion laws impacting AYSO programs are in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington. State legislation varies slightly from state to state and additional information is being provided for those with AYSO programs impacted by concussion laws. In the meantime don’t hesitate to contact the Safe Haven office at 800-872-2976 for further clarification.

Here are a few of the helpful Steps/Measures to remember relating to concussion awareness and safety issues:
  • In Regions impacted by the concussion laws, signed copies of the AYSO/CDC Concussion Information Sheets must be collected and stored by the Region. (Regions may want to consider distributing the Information Sheets and collecting them with the registration forms.)
  • Coaches are required to complete an AYSO Incident Report whenever a concussion has been suspected and turn it into the Safety Director.
  • The Safety Director must forward a copy of the AYSO Incident Report to insurance@ayso.org and make sure the injured player’s parents are informed about AYSO’s Soccer Accident Insurance.
  • Coaches must require a signed Participation Release Form from the parent/guardian before a player having a concussion or suspected of having a concussion is allowed to return to play. Parents should always be encouraged to seek appropriate medical care and medical clearance. In designated states, the signed Medical Release is also mandatory before return to play.
  • The signed Participation Release and any Medical Release must be given to the Safety Director and forwarded to insurance@ayso.org.