Soccer is a contact sport and injuries are part of the game. The growing concern in soccer, among other sports, are concussions. Referees need to be more aware of the symptoms of concussions and take more of a concerned role in recognizing them. Some symptoms listed here are what we, as referees, may see when the head contact is made. But there are others that the officials will not witness as they may occur later.
- Lack of coordination
- Blurred vision
- Bruising at the area of contact
- Slurred speech
Of course, there are others and these should be left up to a medical professional.
But, what do we see/do when there is head contact either by player, goal post or the ball.
STOP PLAY. Player safety is paramount. Quickly assess the player and get medical personnel on the field.
In this clip below, the player takes a hard knock directly to the head by the ball kicked by her own teammate. The player does not go to ground but appears dazed. The referee holds play, quickly assesses the player and determines that medical attention is needed. Referees should not decide that the player should continue. Your job is to ensure that the player is attended to by a medical professional.
The referee recognizes the contact to the head and observes the players actions. He then assesses the player and notices that she seems to be dazed. Even if the player relays that she is OK, but you as the referee feel she is dazed, then it is your duty to have a medical professional test that player for a concussion.