Health and Safety

We are committed to creating an environment that promotes health and safety.

Every player and adult participant is valued and we encourage leagues and clubs to familiarize themselves with our Athlete and Participant Safety Policy. In addition, leagues and clubs are responsible for ensuring that they adhere to all applicable state and federal laws,  and US Soccer and US Youth Soccer compliance requirements, and policies.

Below are resources to help you navigate compliance with Cal North Health and Safety requirements.  

SafeSport

On February 14, 2018, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and SafeSport Authorization Act of 2017 was signed into federal law and became effective immediately.

The law has a three-pronged approach:

  1. Any adult interacting with amateur athletes in the program has a duty to report abuse and or suspected abuse within a 24 hour period. EVERY adult is a mandatory reporter.
  2. The statute of limitations is extended for up to 10 years after a victim realizes he or she was abused.
  3. It limits an athlete under the age of 18 from being alone with an adult who is not their parent.

Youth sports organizations are also required to put in place policies and procedures to prevent abuse.

Find out more about Cal North's SafeSport policy and what we do to keep our youth participants safe. 

Airquality

Just because the sky is blue, doesn’t mean the air is clean.

Know what you’re breathing every day by getting the air quality forecast. Use precaution when exercising outdoors, especially on a Spare The Air day.  Check the local air quality index in your area by going to the AirNow.gov website and entering your zip code, and always check with your local league or club for additional guidelines and updates they may have for your area.

Some general recommendations include:

  • Exercise in the morning when ground-level ozone pollution is low
  • Avoid running near roads and freeways because air pollution can be elevated near them
  • Reschedule afternoon practice or do indoor activities when a Spare The Air alert has been issued

 

Air Quality Index Who Needs to be Concerned? What Should I Do?
Good
0-50
It’s a great day to be active outside.
Moderate
51-100
Some people may be unusually sensitive to particle pollution. Unusually sensitive people: Consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion. Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath. These are signs to take it easier.

 

Everyone else: It’s a good day to be active outside.

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
101-150
Sensitive groups include people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teenagers. Sensitive groups: Reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. It’s OK to be active outside, but take more breaks and do less intense activities. Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.

 

People with asthma should follow their asthma action plans and keep quick relief medicine handy.

If you have heart disease: Symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, or unusual fatigue may indicate a serious problem. If you have any of these, contact your heath care provider.

Unhealthy
151 to 200
Everyone Sensitive groups: Avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Move activities indoors or reschedule to a time when the air quality is better.

 

Everyone else: Reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. Take more breaks during all outdoor activities.

Very Unhealthy
201-300
Everyone Sensitive groups: Avoid all physical activity outdoors. Move activities indoors or reschedule to a time when air quality is better.

 

Everyone else: Avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Consider moving activities indoors or rescheduling to a time when air quality is better.

Hazardous
301-500
Everyone Everyone: Avoid all physical activity outdoors.

 

Sensitive groups: Remain indoors and keep activity levels low. Follow tips for keeping particle levels low indoors.

Note: Values above 500 are considered Beyond the AQI. Follow recommendations for the Hazardous category. 

Concussion

All suspected concussions must be taken with the utmost seriousness.

In the event of a possible concussion, the player must removed from play immediately and may not return to play until he is medically cleared by a trained licensed health provider or physician who is trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and is acting within the scope of his or her practice. 

Below is the procedure that must be followed:

The team official must sign and complete the concussion notification form. The document must be emailed to MedicalClaims@calnorth.org

If a parent/legal guardian of the player is present, have the parent/legal guardian sign and date the form, and give the parent/legal guardian one copy of the completed form. If the parent/legal guardian is not present, then the team official is responsible for notifying the parent/legal guardian as soon as possible by phone or email and then submitting the form to the parent/legal guardian by email or mail.

When the parent/guardian is not present, the team official must make a record of how and when the parent/legal guardian was notified. The notification will include a request for the parent/legal guardian to provide confirmation and completion of the Concussion Notification Form whether in writing or electronically.

The team official must surrender the player pass to a League representative upon injury. The player pass will not be returned until a Medical Release has been received by Cal North.

Leagues must send a copy of the Medical Release to the Cal North office (1040 Serpentine Lane, Suite 206, Pleasanton, CA 94556).

Players may wear their jersey, but must not be in full uniform until the League has received the Medical Release and the pass has been returned to the team official.

Available Resources:

Concussion Notification Form - Must be used by the team official, parent, and medical doctor as part of our return to play protocol. 

Concussion Info Fact Sheet (pdf)- Parents and players are required to review the info fact sheet. When players are registered online through our approved registration platform, this info fact sheet is provided to them via a link, and waiver which requires the acknowledgment that they have received the document. 

Intro to Safe and Healthy Playing Environments - All adult administrators (coaches, managers, assistant coaches, etc...) are required to complete the Intro course. The course is offered through the US Soccer Digital Learning Center free of charge and takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. Parents and Players are encouraged to also take the training.

Heading Policy

Our policy can be broken into two parts: (1) during play and (2) during practice. 

During Play: 

  1. Heading the ball is prohibited in all U12 and small-sided games.
  2. Players 11 years old and younger, who are playing up in U13 and older games, are prohibited from heading and must clearly be identifiable to the match official (i.e. armband). The head coach must identify the 11-year-old-and-under player during pregame to the match official, show the identifying marker  (i.e. armband), and note that player on the game card roster.
  3. When a player, who is 11 years old and younger, deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. If a deliberate header is made by a defender within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred. If a deliberate header is made by an attacking player within the goal area, the indirect free kick may be taken anywhere within the goal area. If a player does not deliberately head the ball, then play should continue.
  4. All players age 11 years old and younger, who participate in events not sanctioned by Cal North with their Cal North player pass, must adhere to the Cal North heading policy and are prohibited from heading. 

During Practice: 

  • Players 11 years old and younger are prohibited from heading.
  • It is strongly recommended for players between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, heading in practice must be limited to a maximum of thirty (30) minutes per week, with no more than fifteen (15) to twenty (20) headers per player per week.
  • In addition, Cal North recommends that standard coaching methods to instruct on how to properly head the ball be instituted by the Affiliates. Cal North will assist Affiliates, as needed, in teaching coaches the proper heading techniques as such to reduce the risk of possible concussion.

Available Resources: 

Heading Policy Chart (pdf) - A visual guide that illustrates our policy. 

 

 

Heat, Hydration and Other Environmental Conditions

In accordance with U.S. Soccer's Recognize to Recover program guidelines and recommendations, we encourage leagues and clubs to take the utmost caution in regards to heat and hydration as well as cold temperatures. California has a diverse range of climates, and an understanding of the environmental conditions' impact on player safety and health is critical in the prevention of serious injuries and illnesses, from muscle cramps to heat stroke.

Learn more about Environment Conditions that impact safe play

Below are topics provided by U.S. Soccer's Recognize to Recover website. 

  • Heat and Hydration
  • Heat Guidelines
  • Sun Safety Guidelines 
  • Cold Weather Guidelines
  • Lightning and Severe Weather
  • Field Conditions
  • CDC Resources for Healthy Travel

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