U.S. Soccer bans headers for players 10 and under

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Monday it is recommending a ban on headers for youth players 10 and under and limits headers for players between 11 and 13. The USSF is also recommending medical professionals, rather than coaches, make the decisions on whether injured players with possible concussions can remain in a game.

The recommendations are part of a new youth soccer initiative to address concussions that often result from headers, according to a news release.

The new initiative was part of an announcement that a lawsuit over concussions filed last August against the USSF and several other soccer organizations had been settled.  A group of players and parents in San Francisco sued the USSF and FIFA along with the U.S. Youth Soccer Association, American Youth Soccer Organization, US Club Soccer and the California Youth Soccer Association over the issue of concussions in the sport.

The USSF is strongly urging all local youth teams and American professional leagues to adopt the new initiative. All of U.S. Soccer’s youth national teams and its development academy, which are under the direct authority of the USSF, will be required to implement the new rules.

A more comprehensive player safety campaign will be released in the next 30 days, the USSF said in a statement.