Heading and Concussion Rules

Guidelines for ALL NorCal games and are to be followed
 without fail, our primary objective is PLAYER SAFETY

NorCal Concussion Initiative and Protocol

HEADING OF THE BALL:

Recreation Soccer, there will be no heading allowed in U14 Competition or below.

In CCSL/CalNorth, 12 year old and younger players are not permitted to head the ball. CCSL instructs us to enforce on the individual player based on age. If you, as the referee, believe player safety is in jeopardy with a younger player playing up, you can enforce a no heading rule on the entire game if a 12 year old or younger is in the match, if in your opinion it is the best option to protect players. It is your discretion.

NorCal Premier U11 (2006 birth year) and below are prohibited from DELIBERATELY heading the ball. When a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick (IFK) should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. This rule is enforced by age group, not on individual players. If a younger player is playing up in age, they will be treated like all others in the age group of the competition.

If the deliberate header occurs within the goal area, the IFK should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred

If a player does not deliberately head the ball, then play should continue

We recommend at team check-in, the referee crew inform team officials and players of how the heading rule will be enforced for the match (Not everyone is aware of this new rule)

If a goal is scored by a player deliberately heading the ball, the goal should be disallowed and an IFK should be awarded

  • The IFK is awarded NOT FOR A DANGEROUS PLAY but for PLAYER SAFETY
  • THERE SHALL BE NO CARD GIVEN FOR THIS ACTION.
  • THERE SHALL BE NO CONSIDERATION FOR PERSISTENT INFRINGEMENT FOR THIS ACTION
  • THE IFK IS CONSIDERED TO BE A TEAM VIOLATION
  • THERE IS NO PUNISHMENT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL PLAYER.

Dealing with “Head Injuries” and “potential head injuries”

•    Head injuries may be caused when two players challenge for air ball and their heads collide, goalkeeper or any player collision of their head against goal post, player hitting their head against the ground or receiving a blow to the head by an elbow, a kick or during a fight or mass confrontation and on and on.
•    When there is “head Injuries” or “potential head injuries”, STOP THE GAME, evaluate the injured player or players, and the Coach must be called onto the field.

What are the signs of concussion?

Headache, Loss of consciousness, Confusion, Double/Fuzzy vision, Dizziness, Balance problems, Nausea, Slow reaction time, Amnesia/Difficulty remembering, Difficulty concentrating, Sensitivity to light and noise, Feeling sluggish, foggy or groggy, Feeling more emotional than usual and Irritability.
In dealing with “Head Injuries” and “potential head injuries,” I recommend first thing, asking player’s name, what day it is and date of birth.  This should give you a quick evaluation of the player’s state of mind.  Call the coach onto the field immediately if you suspect any “Head Injuries” or “potential head injuries.”  Once coach comes onto the field of play for the injured player then the player needs to be off the field for evaluation.  I am very much aware of the FIFA/USSF protocol for goalkeeper exception and two player’s injuries.  The player MUST leave the field of play for evaluation.

If the coach or HCP (Health Care Professional) determines that the down player cannot be moved due to the severity of the injury, you must comply with their instructions and wait for the arrival of medical personnel.

As a referee, once you determine that the player might be suffering from “Head Injuries” or “potential head injuries”, DO NOT ALLOW THAT PLAYER TO RETURN TO PLAY IN THAT GAME UNLESS THE PLAYER HAS BEEN CLEARED BY A HCP.

This rule is modified in NorCal hosted events/tournaments when there is a HCP on site to make those determinations.

NorCal teams MAY have a HCP on their staff.  It is the team’s responsibility to inform the referee BEFORE the INJURY as to the the identity of team’s HCP.  If no HCP is identified before the INJURY and a player leaves the field of play due to “Head Injuries” or “potential head injuries”, THAT PLAYER CANNOT RETURN TO THE PITCH FOR THAT GAME.  YOU ARE NOT TO REMOVE THE PLAYER PASS OR HOLD ON TO IT.

You are however required to fill out an incident report by using this link: http://www.norcalreferees.com/incident_report/

Notify Bruce A. Magnani, FSC Referee Coordinator, as soon as reasonable.