Taskforce with MLS, NISA, USL, and U.S. Soccer Agree To New Protocol on Concussion Rule
U.S. professional leagues, U.S. Soccer to implement pilot program in 2021, pending approval from FIFA/IFAB
The National Women’s Soccer League announced today a new concussion rule to be implemented beginning in the 2021 season as part of a joint effort between U.S. Soccer and all U.S. professional leagues to increase player safety.
The rule allows teams to make two concussion substitutes to replace players with head injuries, regardless of the number of substitutions already used in a game.
A taskforce comprised of operations and medical leaders from the NWSL, Major League Soccer, the United Soccer League, the National Independent Soccer Association and U.S. Soccer have agreed to implement the protocol pending approval from FIFA and the International Football Association Board.
There has always been a ‘Gender Gap’ when it comes to concussions with more girls and women soccer players suffering from concussions but statistics are alarming for all players. According to CBSNews, Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach, Michelle Akers and Brandi Chastain — have pledged to donate their brains to science. And, there have been countless make players whose careers were cut short after they sustained Traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a collision while playing soccer.
The new protocol was established to ensure that a player suspected of suffering a concussion may be withdrawn from a match without the player’s team suffering a disadvantage in numbers on the field.
The rule was first introduced this past February by U.S. Soccer during the 2021 SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, Florida.
“The new concussion protocol is another steppingstone in our continued efforts to create robust player safety guidelines for all teams and athletes.”Hughie O’Malley, Director of Sports Medicine
“The welfare of our players is a priority at the NWSL,” said said Director of Sports Medicine Hughie O’Malley.. “We’re pleased to collaborate with the other professional leagues and U.S. Soccer on this pilot program to continue protecting our athletes.”
IFAB approved trials for concussion substitutions to begin in 2021. All major leagues, as well as U.S. Soccer applied for permission to participate in the trials.