World Cup Injuries Spark Soccer Concussions Debate

NBC News—July 13, 2014

In Sunday's World Cup final Germany's Christoph Kramer took a jarring hit to the head from the shoulder of an Argentine player that sent him spinning to the ground.

After a quick check by trainers, the 23-year-old midfielder kept on playing. Fifteen minutes later, however, a still-woozy Kramer had to be helped off the field.

Kramer was the latest victim of a possible concussion in a tourney marked by head injuries, and a reminder that soccer, played at high speeds and without pads, is a contact sport, and concussions are part of the game.

Major League Soccer changed its rules in 2010. The league created a nine-member concussion committee in 2010, and instituted mandatory baseline neuropsychological testing for players. Now players must be removed from a game immediately if they show signs of a head injury. If he fails a series of cognitive tests he must see a team specialist before returning to play, and he must be symptom-free for 24 hours before being allowed to play.

But some worry the rules are not always strictly enforced. Dr. Riley Williams, the team physician for the New York Red Bulls, who noted that concussions "happen a lot" in soccer, said, "There's always a differential between what the policy says and what the actual application of the policy is on the field."

Read the full article on NBC News.

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