The Florida High School Athletic Association tells coaches to abide by the motto “when in doubt, sit them out!” if one of their players shows signs of a concussion.
According to the Sports Concussion Institute, soccer is one of the five leading sports that reports the most concussions and five percent of soccer players will obtain brain injuries throughout their athletic career. In high school, soccer is the largest source of concussions for females.
Barbara Morris, assistant program director of University of South Florida’s Health’s Sports Medicine and Athletic-related Trauma, works with high school athletes.
“Research has shown in soccer and basketball girls seem twice as likely to sustain concussions when compared to their male counterparts,” said Morris.
The reason for this is unknown, but may be because girls are more likely to report injury than boys, Morris said.
“I experienced my first concussion during a high school soccer game, and all I remember is seeing stars,” Jacklyn Carrillo, a USF junior, said. “I went for the ball and someone kicked me in the head so my coach walked me off the field. It was scary, but I will never let that injury keep me from playing the sport I love.”
According to Morris, concussions can be caused by blows to the head, whiplash type injuries, and/or an accumulation of small head bumps. Indications that an athlete has just suffered a concussion vary by individuals. Some symptoms are as weak as a headache while others can be as severe as death.
After the concussion, the victim may experience some short-term effects such as memory loss, trouble concentrating, problems with light and noise. In the long run, a concussion can cause symptoms similar to early dementia. Players should sit out and be medically cleared before playing again, Morris said.
In soccer, players are taught proper techniques for hitting the ball with their head to lower the probability of a concussion.
“The forehead is the one of the strongest areas of bone on the body. By hitting the ball with your forehead, you greatly reduce the risk for head and neck injury,” said Men’s Soccer Club Vice President Kurt Levin.
Obeying sporting rules and refraining from dangerous fouls also help lower the number of concussions, Levin said.
The men’s club soccer team is recovering from being deactivated after going broke.
According to Vice President Kurt Levin, the former president of the club did not request an annual budget for the fall 2010 and spring 2011 seasons. This disabled the team because there was no cash available for tournaments, equipment and referees.
To reestablish the team with a budget, the team had to start over as a new club.
“A team must wait 14 weeks to begin the eligibility process for a budget,” said Sports Clubs Coordinator Ashley Johnson. ”After that, an officer must submit paperwork requesting funding along with being an active Green Club member. Green Club means that every member is a USF student.”
President Matt Colontonio and Levin would not allow the team to disappear over someone else’s mistake so they went to the Sport’s Club Council, who then talked to Student Government and requested an interim budget to fund the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters. They ultimately got $3,000 after submitting a temporary budget request, which asked for a certain amount of money and gave reasons the team needed it.
USF has set up a point system report card to make sure the team gets the amount it needs. The more members from a team that attend certain meetings or events, the more points they can receive, and therefore, a higher grade on their report card. This step can be crucial to receiving more annual funding since the number of clubs fluctuates every year, which increases competition for funding.
However, with the expenses of equipment and transportation there is “nowhere near enough to fund the competitions we play in,” said Colontonio.
With such a shortage of cash, club members are required to use their own money in order to play.
“That $3,000 is enough for around three tournaments,” Levin said. “One tournament costs around $1,000, which includes hotel, referees, transportation and use of field charges. There is also a team fee of $300 at the beginning of every season through the Southeast Collegiate Soccer Alliance.”
The team recently began practicing on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Sycamore fields from 8 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
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