The Ontario Soccer Association, Toronto Soccer Association and Toronto Football Club have each teamed up with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s Concussion Centre in collaborations focused on increasing the safety of youth soccer players.
“These collaborations are a commitment to ensuring a safer game for kids to play,” says Dr. Nick Reed, co-director and clinician scientist in Holland Bloorview’s concussion centre and assistant professor at the University of Toronto. “Youth athletes, both at professional and amateur levels, need to be informed about concussion prevention, identification, and recovery strategies. We’re thrilled to work together on this important initiative with three leading soccer organizations for kids at all levels of sport.” Video link
It is estimated that one in five sport-related injuries are concussions. About 200,000 concussions are reported each year in Canada but the true number is likely much higher, as concussions are largely underreported.
In a one-year collaboration, Holland Bloorview’s concussion centre will work with the Toronto Football Club (TFC)’s academy soccer players, to provide a comprehensive baseline testing and follow-up care program that includes the assessment of neurocognitive function, as well as balance, strength and agility. Concussion education and training is another critical part.
Three-year collaborations with the Ontario Soccer Association (OSA) and Toronto Soccer Association (TSA) are also underway, focusing on concussion education, strategies, and awareness campaigns to align players, parents, coaches and trainers on the most up-to-date evidence and resources for concussion prevention, identification and management.
The OSA is the governing body for 21 soccer districts, 13 Associate Members and 26 Non-Club Academies across the province. With over 475,000 annual participants, the OSA is one of largest sporting organizations in Canada.