Concussions have been recognized as a serious health concern in youth sports. Massachusetts Youth Soccer has joined the dialogue in searching for solutions to help safeguard the safety of our players and to educate our players, parents, coaches, referees and administrators in the dangers of concussion-related injuries. The Massachusetts Youth Soccer Leagues Committee is studying the issue of concussive injuries in youth soccer and will propose a "best practices" protocol for concussion education and recognition.
US Youth Soccer President John Sutter said, "Supporting the game we all love is a priority for US Youth Soccer, our 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, and our local member clubs and associations across the country. Supporting the game also means helping to keep our players safe. Recommending and providing access to baseline testing reflects our commitment to player safety and vetting solutions for our members." In February 2012 US Youth Soccer announced Axon Sports as a long-term strategic partner for computerized baseline testing for concussion management, leading the way to make soccer safer for kids at the grassroots level. Through the relationship, US Youth Soccer will provide member discounts and educational resources on USYouthSoccer.org. It will also provide more than 25,000 US Youth Soccer players free access to the Axon Sports Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool (CCAT). Massachusetts Youth Soccer is committed to working with Axon Sports as well. For instance, every candidate who enrolls in the Massachusetts Youth Soccer E-License Coaching is now required to take the Concussion Education Course on the CDC website.
The Axon Sports CCAT features a brief, online cognitive test that provides a "before" snapshot of an player's healthy brain activities including attention, processing speed, working memory, and learning for comparison to future results in the event of a head injury. Test results help qualified medical providers manage return-to-play decisions, reducing a player's risk of additional concussions before recovering from initial injuries.
The International Consensus on Concussion in Sport recognized cognitive baseline testing as a cornerstone in an effective concussion management program. Once reserved primarily for professional and collegiate athletes, now youth sports leagues, teams and clubs have access to an affordable, convenient tool to help manage concussions in players as young as age 10.
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