Youth Soccer Headers: When Is It Safe?
Headlines, column inches, viral videos, and white papers have been dedicated to the concussion problem facing football players in the United States. For the most part, technological breakthroughs, practice limitations, and rule changes have only been able reduce head injury risk, not eliminate it. Football is, by design, a collision sport, which makes it difficult to fully remove all risks without fundamentally altering the game.
— Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund, Inc. (@DaveDuersonFund) April 26, 2019
Similarly, youth soccer has taken a hard look at what can be done to reduce concussions. Unlike American football, soccer has opted to remove the header from the game altogether at the youth level. The age at which header incorporation is appropriate is up for debate. Determining the age to begin heading during practices and games requires consultation with a concussion specialist. Luckily for our audience, Hospital for Special Surgery has an expert on call.
Dr. Warren Young is a primary care sports medicine physician at the HSS Westchester campus. Dr. Young treats athletes of all ages. He has special expertise in treating tendinopathies of the upper and lower extremities, sports-overuse injuries, pediatric and adolescent sports injuries, and sports-related concussions.
He is a team physician for Iona College in Westchester, and New York’s professional rugby team, Rugby United New York.
We sat down with the esteemed doctor in this week’s episode of Sideline Data. Click below to hear our conversation and how you can help reduce concussions on the pitch.