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Head Injury

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AYSA and Banner Concussion Center have also teamed up at the state level to provide important information, testing and treatment in the event of a head injury/concussion.  Due to the fact that youth soccer is played nearly year-round in Arizona, exposure for concussion is NOT limited to just games.  They can also occur at team practice/training sessions as well.  This coupled with the fact that player safety is paramount to AYSA, the following resources are intended to assist anyone who is seeking information prior to, or following a head injury/concussion.
Further, US Youth Soccer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are proud to be teaming-up to help protect participants of all youth sports who may be at risk of concussion.  The campaign, is an extension of the "Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports" and will help distribute concussion information into the hands of coaches, parents, school and health care professionals who are on the front-line to help identify and respond appropriately to concussions among young athletes. 

Per the CDC, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way in which your brain normally works.  Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth.  Even what seems to be a minor bump or blow to the head can be serious.  Concussions can occur in any sport or recreational activity.  Banner Concussion Center – Concussion FAQ’s
Produced by Banner Concussion Center, "Concussions in Soccer, What You Need to Know" is a video that provides opinions from Medical Doctors as well as those involved with AYSA.  Intended to provide a broad overview of concussions and the importance of seeking medical attention if one occurs, the video also provides a strong message that head injuries and concussions are taken very seriously at Arizona Youth Soccer Association.
Concussions occur without warning.  They cannot be predicted nor can the severity of any head injury.  Due to this, AYSA strongly encourages our members aged 11 and older to perform a baseline test prior to suffering a head injury.  Taking this 30-minute test prior will provide qualified medical doctors with a road-map on how to best treat a concussion and to eventually return a player to competition. 

The following is advice from Banner University Medical Center - If after a fall or injury, you notice the following symptoms in a child or adult, an appointment with a physician should be made to diagnose or rule out concussion:
  • Headache
  • Loss of alertness or consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
However, if you notice more significant issues like the following, the individual should be taken to the emergency room immediately:
  • Change in normal emotional state
  • Confusion
  • Intense headaches
  • Prolonged loss of consciousness
  • Recurrent vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Severe balance problems
VERY IMPORTANT: At the first sign of a head injury or possible concussion during a game or practice session, players should be REMOVED from participation IMMEDIATELY.  Then, the athlete should seek professional medical care/advice immediately at your nearest medical provider.  Players should not return to any soccer activity without a proper medical evaluation and clearance to return to competition.

Written for and effective since the 2013/14 season, the AYSA Head Injury/Concussion Policy is in place to assist and direct coaches, parents/guardians on how to best manage a head injury.  Contained within the policy is the directive for the referee to pull a player pass if a head injury occurs during a game that he/she feels warrants medical attention.  The player pass is then sent to the AYSA office where it is held until the player is cleared by a Dr. or DO by signing-off on the AYSA Return to Play Form – NO Exceptions!  The Policy also includes important indicators of head injuries and possible concussions that will prompt immediate medical attention. 
Revised for this season (2017/18) with the assistance of AYSA partner, Banner Concussion Center, the “Return to Play” forms are intended to ensure that any AYSA player who sustains a head injury/concussion has proper clearance from the injury prior to returning to play. The following is an explanation of each page:
INITIAL PHYSICIAN EVALUATION FORM:  (First page of “Return to Play” Forms) - This form is to be presented to the tending MD when having an initial head injury/concussion evaluation.  (This form must be presented whether sustaining a head injury at practice/training or a game)  If following an initial evaluation by either a MD or DO it is NOT in their medical opinion that the athlete/player has suffered a concussion, the tending MD or DO will need to check the section indicating that the player has NOT suffered a concussion and is medically cleared to play.  The form should then be submitted (by the player, coach or team manager) to AYSA for prompt return of the player pass. 
However, if following an evaluation the tending MD or DO concludes that the athlete/player DID suffer a concussion (or he/she cannot conclude with certainty that they did NOT suffer a concussion), the MD or DO will need to check that column at the bottom of the “Initial Physician Evaluation” form.  This form is to then be retained by the player throughout the process of healing and submitted to AYSA when later cleared to return to play.
FOLLOW-UP PHYSICIAN EVALUATION FORM:  (Second page of the “Return to Play” Forms) - If the initial MD or DO whom evaluated the athlete/player indicates that a concussion occurred, a follow-up visit with a MD or DO to identify the course of action to work their way through the concussion will be necessary. (At this point, it is strongly advised that the athlete/player seek an MD or DO who specializes in treatment of concussion) 
Each time a concussed athlete/player attends a follow-up appointment, they would need to print page two of the “Return to Play” forms called the “Follow-up Physician Evaluation Form” and present it to the Doctor at that time for completion.  (Note: If a player has the need to meet with a doctor more than once, he/she should bring a blank copy of the “Follow-up Physician Evaluation Form” each time until he/she is cleared to play.)
Once the tending follow-up MD or DO determines that athlete/player may resume full activity and that the athlete/player has been cleared, he/she will be required to sign the “Follow-up Physician Evaluation Form” indicating that the athlete/player is cleared to return to full activity due to the fact that they have had a complete neurological exam and neurocognitive testing which indicates complete recovery and has completed gradual return to play progression.  Once this complete form has been submitted to AYSA, the player pass will be returned allowing that player to return to action immediately.

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Banner Concussion Center & Banner University Medical Center – Sports Medicine are the AYSA official partners for the treatment of concussion.  They are also the preferred provider of baseline testing and head injury/concussion treatment of AYSA.  To learn more about scheduling this test or to make an appointment please contact them:
Banner Concussion Center - Located in Phoenix and led by Steven M. Erickson, MD, Banner Concussion Center is a proud partner of AYSA.  The center brings together a team of medical experts with decades of experience in treating patients. The team includes physicians, neuropsychologists, athletic trainers, as well as vision and balance therapists.  Per Dr. Erickson, a major goal of BCC is, “Educating parents, coaches and athletes how to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussion and what the appropriate steps that health care providers should take in the prevention, diagnosis and management of concussion is one of the most important issues in sports medicine.”
Central Arizona (Phoenix Area):
Banner Concussion Center
1320 N. 10th Street
Suite B
Phoenix, Arizona  85006
(602) 839-7285
Banner University Medical Center – Sports Medicine: Located in Tucson and led by Holly McNulty, MD, this facility is also available to assist AYSA players in southern Arizona who sustain head injuries/concussions or would like to inquire about taking a baseline test.  This office is fully prepared to treat athletes who have suffered a concussion and assist them back to the field.  Please call (520) 874-9000 to schedule an appointment.  
Southern Arizona (Tucson Area):
Banner University Center - Sports Medicine
2800 E. Ajo Way
Tucson, Arizona  85713
(520) 874-9000
Note:  Banner Concussion Center is the "Official Concussion Center of Arizona Youth Soccer."  AYSA is NOT indicating that our players are required to visit one of their locations following a head injury/concussion.  This information is simply to be considered an option when seeking treatment.

AYSA Head Injury & Concussion Policy – This form must be read and acknowledged with a signature by all players, parents and coaches prior to competition.
AYSA Concussion Return to Play Form – This form must be read and acknowledged with signature by a MD or DO indicating that a player who suffered a head injury resulting in a concussion is cleared to return to play.  (Note: It is required that this form is completed in its entirety)
movie-camera-the Center for Disease Control, “Head’s Up” Video & Training Course – Required for all coaching candidates who take the USSF National “E” Coaching License course and for all Certified Athletic Trainers who participate in AYSA sanctioned events.

NOTE:   This page consists of general information as a service by Arizona Youth Soccer Association.  It is intended to simply be educational by nature.  Nothing contained on this page is meant to substitute or replace medical evaluation, advice or care.