The following happens in a boys U12 game. An attacker is fouled in the box, with a resulting whistle and penalty kick. The fouled attacker is shaken up and, after inspection, the referee signals his coach onto the field to treat him. (Note: there are no doctors or other medical personnel available.)
After a relatively short visit by the coach, the player is up and wants to continue in the game and take the PK. However, the referee tells him (and the coach) that he must temporarily leave the field since the injury required team personnel to be summoned onto the field.
The coach’s position is that the player does not have to leave the field for the following reasons:
1. ATR (Law 5.9) states that: “When the referee has stopped play due solely to the occurrence of a serious injury, the referee must ensure that the injured player is removed from the field….If play is stopped for any other reason, an injured player cannot be required to leave the field.”
The coach maintains that play was stopped for the foul, not for the injury, and that this wording says that the injured player cannot be required to leave the field.
2. The coach is also later directed to the following USSF wording: “A player for whom the referee has requested medical personnel to enter the field at a stoppage is required to leave the field and may return with the referee’s permission only after play has resumed even if the stoppage was not expressly for the injury.”
His position is that: (a) “medical personnel” was not summoned onto the field – only a coach; and (b) this is contradictory to the ATR advice in 5.9 that states “if play is stopped for any other reason, an injured player cannot be required to leave the field.”
It would be appreciated if you could respond to this coach’s position.
USSF answer (May 12, 2009):
Basic rule of soccer: Coaches will try in every possible way to divert your thinking from the true path. Do not let this happen!
There is no basis in what the coach says, as the player must leave the field in any event, no matter why the game was stopped. What Advice 5.9 says is this: “Players who are injured are required to leave the field under either of two conditions: The referee has stopped play due solely to the occurrence of a serious injury or the referee signals approval for anyone (team official, medical personnel, etc.) to enter the field to attend to an injury (regardless of whether that person enters to assist or not and regardless of why play was stopped).”
The USSF position paper on “Handling Injuries,” dated October 12, 2007, states: “‘Medical personnel’ for purposes of these guidelines includes any team official who has responsibility for the player in the absence of available trained medical staff.”
Basic answer: If there no “medical personnel” available at the game and someone, anyone, is called into the field to attend to an injury, the player must leave the field. It makes no difference if it is the coach, Mom or Dad, or a passing stranger: The player MUST leave the field.
And when play is restarted, after the player has left the field, the referee must blow the whistle.