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Concussion and ACL Injury Prevention

Read below for important safety information about San Carlos United Club's protocol on both concussions and ACL injury prevention.

What Is A Concussion?

A concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head or brain to move rapidly back and forth. Concussions can have a more serious effect on a young, developing brain and need to be addressed correctly.

SCU Club Policy On Concussions (When In Doubt, Sit Them Out):
  • A player who receives a blow to the head and exhibits symptoms of a concussion will be immediately removed from the training or game

  • The player’s parents will be notified of the incident by the coach and/or team manager

  • Depending on the severity of the injury/symptoms, a medical release may be required before the player is allowed to train or play in subsequent games

Signs And Symptoms:
  • Confusion

  • Memory loss

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Blurred Vision

  • Difficulty balancing

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Nausea

  • Unequal sized pupils

Signs and symptoms of a concussion can show up right after an injury or may not appear or be noticed until hours or days after the injury. It is important to watch for changes in how your child or teen is acting or feeling.

What Should I Do If My Child Has A Concussion?
  1. Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional experienced in evaluating a concussion can determine how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child or teen to return to normal activities, including physical activity and school (concentration and learning activities). It is important to inform your school’s athletic trainer of all concussions and see your child’s doctor.

  2. Help them take time to get better. If your child has a concussion, his or her brain needs time to heal. Your child or teen may need to limit activities while s/he is recovering from a concussion. Exercising or activities that involve a lot of concentration, such as studying, working on the computer, watching T.V or playing video games may cause concussion symptoms (such as headache or fatigue) to worsen. After a concussion, physical and cognitive activities should be carefully managed and monitored by a health care professional.

  3. Together with your child, learn more about concussions. Talk about the potential long-term effects of concussion and the dangers of returning too soon to normal activities (physical and learning/concentration). For more information about concussions visit

  4. For any incidents involving a San Carlos United player, please report using this form:

How Can I Help My Child Return To School Safely After A Concussion?

Talk with your child’s teachers, athletic trainer, coach, and counselor about your child’s concussion and symptoms.Your child may feel frustrated, sad, and angry because s/he cannot return to recreation and sports right away, or cannot keep up with schoolwork. Your child may also feel isolated from peers and social networks. Talk often with your child about these issues and offer your support and encouragement. Children and teens that return to school after a concussion may need to:

  • Take rest breaks as needed
  • Spend fewer hours at school

  • Have more time to take tests or complete assignments

  • Reduce time spent reading, writing, or on the computer


What Is An ACL Injury?

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major ligaments that provide stability to the knee joint. These fibrous bands attach bone to bone and help control excessive motion of the knee joint and keep the lower leg from sliding too far forward. Of the four major ligaments of the knee, ACL injuries are the most common. The majority of ACL repairs that occur each year are done on young athletes (under age 25) and female athletes.


What Causes An ACL Injury?

ACL injuries are common in sports that involve sudden changes of direction, such as football, and soccer. Most are non-contact injuries that occur during sudden twisting motion (for example, when the feet are planted one way and the knees are turned another way) or when landing from a jump. The causes of ACL injury have recently been the focus of research. Factors contributing to ACL injuries include ground hardness, grass type and cleat type. But one of the other major findings is that women are nearly three times more likely to have ACL injuries than men. And some statistics says that a female soccer player is eight times more likely to injury her ACL than a male soccer player. Researchers believe this may be due to differences in hormone levels on ligament strength and stiffness, neuromuscular control, lower limb biomechanics, ligament strength and fatigue. Findings have shown a difference in neuromuscular control in women when landing jumps (women appear to have less hip and knee flexion than men).

How Do I Prevent An ACL Injury?
  • Athletes can reduce their risk of ACL injuries by performing training drills that require balance, power and agility. Adding plyometric exercises, such as jumping, and balance drills helps improve neuromuscular conditioning and muscular reactions and ultimately shows a decrease in the risk of ACL injury. Many team physicians now routinely recommend an ACL conditioning program, especially for their female players.

  • The Santa Monica ACL Prevention Project developed an ACL Injury Prevention Program specifically for female soccer players. This 15-minute training program incorporates balance, agility and performance drills into the warm up phase of training and practice.

  • Phases of the ACL Injury Prevention Program should be performed at least 2-3 times per week during the season and includes:

  • Warm Up

  • Stretching

  • Strengthening

  • Plyo-metrics

  • Agility Drills

  • Cool Down

  • The Bottom Line for ACL Injury Prevention: For both men and women who participate in start and stop sports, appropriate skills training such as those in the above program, may be the key to staying injury free.

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