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Question Number: 29342

Law 3 - Number of Players 4/21/2015

RE: rec Under 12

Rachel of Rocklin, CA United States asks...

Should the referee stop the match right away if, in his or her opinion, a player is seriously injury?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Rachel,
There is no other answer!
Play is dead the moment YOU have decided to stop play even before the sound of your whistle signals the rest of those participating. SERIOUS means their SAFTY has been compromised. Nothing is more important. If it is NOT serious you do not need to stop. Many players fake, exaggerate or simply are prone to crying for any knock or bruise. Lower ages we tend to stop for LESS serious but in ANY match if YOU feel it IS serious YOU STOP PLAY!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rachel
The Laws of the Game state that play should be stopped if, in the opinion of the referee, a player is seriously injured. The challenge for the referee can be discerning what is serious. Certainly on a head injury the referee should stop immediately along with any bleeding, breaks, breathing difficulties etc. On other occasions teams expect the referee to stop from cramps, minor knocks, strains etc where the player is only slightly injured. There is no need to stop immediately for those minor injuries and play should continue to the next natural stoppage
I have seen players go down with cramp and while sore it is not a serious injury requiring the game to be stopped. I was berated at a recent game for not stopping a breakaway attack because the player who lost the ball went down with cramp for about the third time. Teams have abused the Fair Play code by looking for the game to be stopped every time a player cannot continue and use the excuse of a serious injury. In all my experience of the game over many years serious injuries do get dealt with immediately.
Having said all that I like many referees adopt a very generous approach to dealing with injuries in underage games. I do stop the game when a player is down on the ground and many times the player is not injured. Sometimes the player is crying because of a minor knock / contact. After a few seconds the player is up and able to continue. Managing expectation of what should happen in those situations with coaches, parents can prove difficult.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Yes! In case of serious injury, the referee should:
- stop play immediately
- sprint to the player
- call for the trainers/coaches to assist the player
- move out of the way (so that the coaches focus on the player and not at you)

Head injuries and potential concussions are always serious at every level. But, what is serious enough to stop play in a professional game is different than in recreational play and u-littles. (Note: sprinting to the player shows that you care, and gives you a last opportunity to quickly confirm that the player went down because of an injury.)

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

Yes. Law 5 states the referee should stop the match if he believes there is a serious injury. Restart with a drop ball at the point of the ball unless in a goal area (drop on top of goal area parallel to point of ball then).

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