Toronto Soccer Association launches new concussion policy

The Toronto Soccer Association has implemented a new concussion policy this season to help keep young, developing brains safe.“We recognized that (concussions were) being downplayed by many of our coaches,” said Jacques Konig, the association’s vice president. In one “rather nasty example,” a player fell and hurt his head but his coach told him to get up because the team needed him, he said.In that case the referee intervened – something they generally can’t do – but going forward, head coaches will be responsible for taking any player they suspect may have a concussion out of the game.“We don’t think it will stop concussions because that’s simply the nature of the play,” Konig said. Article Continued BelowBut the association is hoping the policy will raise awareness of concussions and ensure injured players return to soccer gradually.“If a young athlete with a brain injury…goes back to a risky environment, where they could have another brain injury or another concussion before that first one has healed or recovered, that injury could be much more severe and potentially fatal, and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Dr. Nick Reed, a clinician scientist and co-director of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s concussion centre.Reed and the concussion centre partnered with the Toronto Soccer Association to develop its new policy, which will be mandatory for the association’s 2,500 competitive league players and optional for the remainder of its 24,000 club recreational players.