SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A group of parents sued several soccer organizations including the sport’s international governing body FIFA, saying they have failed to do more about concussions among children.
The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in a California federal court, says FIFA and other groups such as the American Youth Soccer Organization have not done enough to reduce preventable injuries from repetitive ball heading.
The risks of head injuries in sports has been a recurring concern in the United States. Last month the National Collegiate Athletic Association agreed to settle a head injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund for concussion testing. Some of the same lawyers involved in that case filed the soccer lawsuit.
“Younger players are typically not provided professional medical supervision, either during practices or at matches,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit seeks to institute a medical monitoring program, as well as attorneys fees.
FIFA representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
In a statement, the AYSO said its “highest priority is creating a safe and nurturing environment where kids can play and have fun,” adding that it requires any player exhibiting signs of a concussion immediately be removed for the remainder of the day.
“For many families soccer is seen as a terrific alternative to football,” the lawsuit said. “Parents are often relieved when their children choose soccer. However, soccer ranks among the top sports in the number of concussions per game.”
The case is Rachel Mehr et al. vs. Federation Internationale de Football Association a/k/a/ FIFA et al., in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California No. 14-3879.
(This version of the story corrects to American Youth Soccer Organization instead of League, paragraph 2)
Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Grant McCool