Dealing with injuries during play

Discussion in 'Referee' started by DefRef, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. DefRef

    DefRef Member

    Jul 3, 2017
    Storrs CT
    I have had some injury situations recently that left some folks (players, fans) unhappy with my process for dealing with them. So I wanted to start a discussion to see if/how I can improve.

    First of all, the bad injuries are easy. As I have stated to numerous players and coaches, if I see blood or bones, I'm stopping play. If I don't, then I am using my judgement. Same with obvious head injuries. Instant whistle.

    The grayer area is in a competitive game (not a kiddie youth match) when a player is down with apparent injury and the play/ball is moving away in the control of the other team. If my snap judgment is minor injury and in my experience 90+% of these end up with player continuing to play in the game. So I will allow play to continue until opponent gives up the ball.

    Other refs have said things like - we are not doctors and should stop play immediately for apparent injuries. I say, we have to interpret all events on the pitch and don't want players thinking they can stop game by being "injured".

    Some examples:
    1) I was doing a 15UG premier game and a girl went down at midfield and other team had an attacking opportunity. She is sitting up holding her leg. Her teammates are indicating she needs help. I do the swivel head thing looking at play, looking at girl. No immediate danger, play on. Leather lungs from the stands bellows "what the hell is wrong with you!". Attacking team loses the ball and I blow whistle. Whole episode took about 7 seconds. Coach comes out and takes player off. She is back playing in 5 minutes.

    2) Another 15UG game and almost same scenario. Girl goes down like a ton of bricks at midfield for what I thought was trifling bump. She is prone on the ground and not moving. Same scenario with play moving away in attack. I look back - still prone. Look away to see attacking team lose ball and blow whistle. Look back really worried that I messed this one up and she is gone. I can't find her and she had obviously gotten up and resumed play. Almost like the little kid, who when parent does not validate the boo-boo, decides I'm not really hurt.

    3) U15B Cup match - boy goes down with apparent minor injury. Other team controls ball and makes a pass, then starts dribbling directly at the injured player. I whistle to stop play. Attacking team protests, but I told them it became dangerous when they moved into his vicinity.

    4) Slightly different topic - same U15B match - 2 boys chasing ball into the corner, defender a step in front. Kid behind (attacker) goes down for no apparent reason. Defender corrals ball and turns then just looks at the kid on the ground. I did not see a foul and am waiting for something to happen. Nothing does, so I blow the whistle. Turns out attacker got hit in mouth from a swinging arm. I consult with AR2 who says it was incidental contact due to running motion. I was originally going to call a drop ball, but given that the defender (unintentionally) hit the attacker, I'm giving a DFK to the attacker. Fans are upset because I had not originally called a foul and coach asked about it after game.

    We can hope that attacking team would demonstrate sportsmanship and kick ball out, but when this does not happen, there is no reason to penalize them for a non-foul injury to the other team.

    I know this is an extremely subjective area and also one where if we make the wrong call, it can be a big deal. But I also know that in the 1700 games I have reffed, I have needed an ambulance twice. A15-30 second delay in treatment is not going to make a different in 99.9% of these situations.

    What say you?
     
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  2. Bubba Atlanta

    Bubba Atlanta Member+

    Mar 2, 2012
    Yep, Atlanta
    Club:
    Atlanta United FC
    I say those are all good challenging borderline scenarios, and I can't see where you got anything wrong. Or necessarily right. They're borderline and somebody's probably gonna be pissed no matter what you do.

    I will add that U15 makes it even more borderline. At that level I'm probably blowing sooner, especially - dare I say it - in a girls match. But it depends, depends, depends.
     
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  3. code1390

    code1390 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    One question I ask myself when deciding if I should stop play in a u15+ youth game is "if this was a defender down in their own penalty area would I allow the other team to continue attacking?"

    Its a lower bar than some have but I remain aware that these are still children and that me as an adult appearing to ignore an injury has limited upside and plenty of downside.
     
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  4. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Mar 24, 2005
    Beaverton OR
    I'm with Bubba. Just like handling, offside and a number of other things, I call the game by the Laws of the Game, not the yapping of spectators and/or coaches. Law 5.3 Injuries. "[the referee] allows play to continue until the play is out of play if a player is only slightly injured. stops play if a player is seriously injured and ensures that the player is removed from the field of play...."

    As we know, what's "serious" in a U-8 game is different than a men's open 1st division game. There is no way for a referee to correctly determine instantly whether an injury is "serious" on the fly, unless we're talking about a head injury, visibly broken bone or blood, maybe a swallowed tongue. But we've seen more seemingly injured players than any parent or coach. So, some experiences:

    My second and older grandson is 10. He's a hemophiliac. When he was eight, he was playing AYSO soccer. As my younger daughter put it, "What do the do, wrap him in bubble wrap?" Most of his bleeds are started not by cuts but by bruises. The referee, in his games, isn't going to know that he's a hemophiliac and getting him out of the game 10 seconds earlier will not stop him from having a bleed or cause the bleed to end earlier. As one FIFA referee put it on a different occasion, "If the player has a broken leg, stopping the game a few seconds earlier isn't going to make it heal faster." Not surprisingly, he was a Brit. :)

    We had a referee report that during a U-14 girls game he was doing, a player went down as if injured just as the other team began an attack. He stopped play, went to her and she told him, "I'm fine," as she popped up. Drop ball. Second half, she does the same thing again, stopping another attack by the other team. My stomach, frankly, was turned by hearing that a 13 year old girl was diving AND that the referee apparently didn't even consider the possibility that she should be cautioned. He also apparently allowed her to remain on the field after she told him that she was fine. If you stop play for a seemingly apparent injury, they have to leave, even if they say they are "fine." Her team won. You shouldn't need a doctor's professional opinion to determine that this was a tactical dive.

    When my younger daughter was playing recreational and, later, competitive youth soccer, she always played on a "boys' team." We always reminisce about the U-9 game in which she threw a hip check into the boy who was trying to mark her. The obviously first year male referee had no clue to look for hip checking in a boys game, so he did nothing. The opponent fell down and didn't get up. My daughter, with the ball at her feet, stops and asks him, "Are you alright?" When he didn't say anything and there was no whistle, she turned, took a shot and scored. The coach had to come out and help the boy off the field. Oh, the humiliation, to get taken out by a girl.

    About a month ago, I was doing a 1st division O-50 men's league game. One of the players was our SDA. I'm his unofficial assistant SDA. About the middle of the game, in front of the other team's bench, one of their players gives him a serious shoulder charge, sending him flying. I stopped play, pretty much having decided that this was a borderline violent charge, so I wasn't going to give a card but he got the evil eye from me, which only gave him the opportunity to protest that it was fair play. But it was O-50 and allowing that kind of stuff will only make the rest of the game a very unpleasant experience for everybody, including the referee. A week or so later, the SDA told me that he was still recovering from the turf burn that he got on that play, saying that "It wasn't really a foul. Except in an O-50 game."
     
    dadman repped this.
  5. sulfur

    sulfur Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Only if a trainer (or other team official) is called onto the FOP to assess the injury.

    If no trainer/team official comes on, the player need not leave.

    Classic example of this kind of situation is the late cramping where a team-mate helps out, player gets back up, everyone continues.
     
  6. fairplayforlife

    fairplayforlife Member+

    Mar 23, 2011
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I get what you are saying but if you stop play specifically for the injury they need to go. By that very stoppage you are indicating the injury is serious (per the laws) and should at th very least be “evaluated”. For all that entails at some games.

    If you are holding up a natural stoppage to evaluate for yourself I would agree with you.
     
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  7. Bubba Atlanta

    Bubba Atlanta Member+

    Mar 2, 2012
    Yep, Atlanta
    Club:
    Atlanta United FC
    Note that under NFHS rules, it's stopping the clock, not stopping play, that triggers the requirement that the player leave the field.
     
    IASocFan repped this.
  8. socal lurker

    socal lurker Member+

    May 30, 2009
    Agree.

    "stops play if a player is seriously injured and ensures that the player is removed from the field of play."
     
  9. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Mar 24, 2005
    Beaverton OR
    Law 5.3. "stops play if a player is seriously injured and ensures that the player is removed from the field of play." Yes, there are exceptions for goalkeepers, etc. The wording of Law 5 makes it mandatory that if a doctor or stretcher bearer comes on the field, the player must leave. But even if no doc comes on, if it is a serious injury, ITOOTR, the player has to leave. This defeats the coach who wants the player to stay on so he decides that the player isn't hurt enough to need a trainer, even though he hasn't actually examined the player because he (the coach) is still in the team area.

    We can discuss whether a cramp is a serious injury or not. If not, how long will you allow his teammate to stretch him out? Will you add time for that? Note that no one is "assessing or removing" an injured player in this situation. Law 7.3.
     
  10. NHRef

    NHRef Member+

    Apr 7, 2004
    Southern NH
    Simple solution, if you stop for the injury, by definition it is serious. Turn call the coach/trainer on, problem solved.

    Law 5 is right, there's some room there to get them off the field, but to avoid issue, just call on the coach.
     
  11. SCV-Ref

    SCV-Ref Member

    Spurs
    Australia
    Feb 22, 2018
    I'm seriously not trying to hijack the thread...and perhaps we should have a different discussion thread for this, but all the different "rules" for NFHS and CIF than those that exist worldwide (mostly) through the LOTG are soooooo annoying. It's the root of the problem for a lot of confusion for parents who have kids that play in both. (eg. High School and AYSO...."Parent: "I thought you couldn't card a coach!!") Not to mention the ridiculous 2 man refereeing that exists for a lot of high school. OK...I mentioned it. Probably wasn't a wise move.
    Anyway...as you were. Carry on. Sorry.
     
  12. Bubba Atlanta

    Bubba Atlanta Member+

    Mar 2, 2012
    Yep, Atlanta
    Club:
    Atlanta United FC
    Well, you could start here as well as anywhere else, and work your way on through ...
     
  13. SCV-Ref

    SCV-Ref Member

    Spurs
    Australia
    Feb 22, 2018
    Thanks for the link Bubba. Appreciated.
    I've been around a long while, but only around these boards a short time.
     
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  14. djmtxref

    djmtxref Member

    Apr 8, 2013
    At least you didn't mention socks. :whistling:
     
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  15. Bubba Atlanta

    Bubba Atlanta Member+

    Mar 2, 2012
    Yep, Atlanta
    Club:
    Atlanta United FC
    You got something against socks?
     
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  16. djmtxref

    djmtxref Member

    Apr 8, 2013
    Nope. I've got two stripe, three stripe, even no stripe. I particularly like the ones that say "referee" on them, in case I've taken another blow to the head and can't remember what I'm doing.
     
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  17. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Mar 24, 2005
    Beaverton OR
    But now NISOA is offering one stripe, too. Or is that, two?
     
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  18. Bubba Atlanta

    Bubba Atlanta Member+

    Mar 2, 2012
    Yep, Atlanta
    Club:
    Atlanta United FC
    I like those too. I tried to figure out how to wear them outside my shoes so that part would show, but I couldn't make it work.
     
    dadman repped this.
  19. fairplayforlife

    fairplayforlife Member+

    Mar 23, 2011
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Smiley socks were the best. Even though on my legs they look like they went through one of those penny press machines.
     
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  20. threeputzzz

    threeputzzz Member+

    May 27, 2009
    Minnesota
    I am now determined to have custom socks made that have "Why are you looking at my socks? They are just socks." printed on them.
     
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  21. chwmy

    chwmy Member+

    Feb 27, 2010
    Notwithstanding this excellent discourse on footwear, I still have a question about one of the op’s scenarios:

    If an attacker directly attacks toward a defensive player who is slightly injured and on the ground, can he be guilty of piadm? I had this scenario in an ecnl match a few years ago. I called it.
     
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  22. camconcay

    camconcay Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Feb 17, 2011
    Georgia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You called the attacker for PIADM or the opponent on the ground?

    Either way if you believed it to be an injury I feel the match should have been stopped for the injury and restarted with a dropped ball - not PIADM.
     
  23. chwmy

    chwmy Member+

    Feb 27, 2010
    PIADM on the attacker. The injury was obviously not severe (girl sitting up, holding ankle,not in distress) and play was sweeping over her, risking her being trod upon by players of both sides. So it seemed inventive to stop play for the injury.
     
  24. fairplayforlife

    fairplayforlife Member+

    Mar 23, 2011
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If you go that route, which seems like it might be a secondary tactic other than just stopping for the injury.

    Why is it the attacker that is guilty of PIADM? They are playing the game, it’s the player on the ground creating the dangerous scenario. It seems cold hearted but it would be no different than the player that tried to head the ball at waist level would it not?
     
  25. camconcay

    camconcay Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Feb 17, 2011
    Georgia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It would not have been inventive at all to stop for the injury, calling PIADM is very "inventive" and in my opinion not the correct call at all and especially not on the attacker.
     

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