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Concussion Lawsuit Information


TALKING POINTS: SAFETY IS AYSO’s HIGHEST PRIORITY

  • AYSO’s highest priority is the safety and well-being of our children. We aim to provide a safe and nurturing environment where they can play and have fun.
  • AYSO was the first youth sports program in the nation to develop a comprehensive youth and volunteer safety program. Under AYSO policy, all volunteers must undergo Safe Haven® Training to maintain a safety net that protects our children.
  • As a volunteer-run youth sports organization we know the importance of working closely with our parents to promote the safety of their children. This partnership with our parents is one of the most important preventative measures we can take.
  • AYSO has taken a leadership role in addressing the issue of Concussion Awareness. We recognize that awareness and appropriate action are critical to child safety.
  • AYSO policy clearly states that any player observed by the player’s coach, parent or the referee to exhibit a sign/symptom of a possible concussion, must be removed from play and not allowed to return to play for at least the remainder of the day.

WHAT IF THE MEDIA CONTACTS ME?

If you don’t feel comfortable addressing these talking points with the media that is very understandable. Please don’t hesitate to refer the reporter to our AYSO spokesperson in this matter, Michelle Dune. Her phone number is 424-221-7971 and her email is MichelleD@ayso.org. Simply take their name and phone number and indicate that somebody that can provide official comments will contact them. This is always a better response than “no comment.”

WHAT IS THIS LAWSUIT ALL ABOUT?

The class-action concussion lawsuit recently filed involves claims against FIFA, US Soccer, AYSO and other leading youth soccer organizations. The complaint alleges that AYSO fails to follow what the plaintiffs believe are consensus guidelines regarding concussions, that AYSO fails to require parents to follow an appropriate return to play policy, that it fails to require parents to have baseline testing and post-injury neurological testing performed, and that AYSO fails to require parents of players who have actually been diagnosed with concussions to be managed and cleared by medical personnel before players are allowed to return to practices or games. Plaintiffs seek implementation of consistent “return to play” guidelines for athletes who have sustained concussions, as well as guidelines for the screening and detection of head injuries, the implementation of a special substitution rule for medical evaluation purposes and the regulation of heading by players under 17 years of age. Plaintiffs also seek money for medical monitoring of persons who have suffered head injuries as well as attorneys’ fees.

AYSO disputes the validity of plaintiffs’ claims and denies their allegations as against AYSO. In fact, we are proud of the leadership role we have played on concussion awareness, discussed in greater detail below.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION

CONCUSSION AWARENESS IS A HIGH PRIORITY

  •  AYSO policy clearly states that any player observed by the player’s coach, parent or the referee to exhibit a sign/symptom of a possible concussion, must be removed from play and not allowed to return to play for at least the remainder of the day.
  • In 2011, AYSO partnered up with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the recognized leader in concussion awareness, to create appropriate training and heightened awareness for our parents, players and volunteers.

              • We developed the AYSO/CDC Parent/Athlete Information Sheet to educate parents and players about the signs/symptoms of concussions and potential risks.

              • We made CDC’s Heads Up on Concussions training module available through the AYSO online training site for all volunteers.

  • In 2012, AYSO took further aggressive steps to enhance concussion awareness.

            • Requiring that the AYSO/CDC Parent/Player Information Sheet be distributed to all parents each season.  It has also been added to the electronic Player Registration process and Registration Kits.

             • AYSO National policy recommends that all coaches, referees, board and staff members take the CDC   concussion awareness training.

             • We developed a Coach and Referee Action Plan based on CDC’s guidance. This plan provides steps to take when a player is observed to exhibit signs or symptoms of a possible concussion. The Action Plan empowers referees to also remove a child from play and asks coaches and referees to confer with parents.

  • In 2014, we introduced Concussion workshops for coaches and referees with specific training on steps to take when signs/symptoms are observed. Next year, AYSO will launch a workshop for all parent coaches, referees and board members on these steps.
  • As the state of science around concussions evolves so too will our aggressive efforts to provide a safe and nurturing environment.

 

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