Arizona Soccer Club

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20

Jun, 2014

Lindsey Johnson Talks to NBC News About Head Injuries & Soccer

Head-injury awareness has been big news in football, but soccer fans watched a World Cup player get knocked out and quickly resume play. Experts say the issue is overlooked in soccer.

Can you imagine what would happen if Arizona Cardinal Carson Palmer was knocked cold and went back in the game on the next play? Critics are saying that's what happened yesterday during the World Cup game between Uruguay and England, and FIFA did nothing.Uruguay's Alvaro Periera went in for a tackle and didn't get back up. He was out cold for more than a minute after taking a knee to the head. But when he came to, he refused to be thoroughly checked out by the medical staff and went back in 30 seconds later."This one is a no-brainer - no pun intended - but he should have been kept out," said Dr. Javier Cardenas, a neurologist and concussion expert at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Phoenix.He says no one should have cleared Periera, but Periera also shouldn't have wanted to go back in."The message it sends to all athletes regardless of their age is the wrong message," he said.Experts say concussions are often overlooked in soccer, though the NFL has seen multimillion-dollar lawsuits over concussions and painkillers.Dr. Cardenas was recently named to the NFL's concussion committee. He says the game will probably change because of those injuries."I think you'll see less hits, you're definitely going to see less violent hits," he said. "The object of the game in football is to get to the other end of the field."When it comes to youth soccer, all 50 states have some sort of rules about kids going back in the game after concussions. In Arizona, you have to pull a player out if there's a suspected head injury. They can only go back in after they pass a screening given by a doctor."As a coach you want them to go back in, as a player you want to go back in, but you know we have to take a step back and not think about ourselves," said Lindsay Johnson, the director of coaching for the Arizona Soccer Club.She says the World Cup referees should have stepped in in Periera's case, if not the doctors.