Website Manager

VNA Nebraska Sports Center

VNA Nebraska Sports Center

Player Health, Safety and Wellness

Player Safety

Nebraska Sports Center values player safety as the number one priority to learning. If players do not feel safe then learning is hampered. Administrators, coaches, referees and volunteers play an important role is supporting youth athletes access and opportunity to learning through sport. Part of everyone's roles is to ensure the safety of the participants. Collectively, all are responsible for providing a playing environment that is healthy, non-threatening, and free from emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

Information and resources to help adult participants and volunteers keep children safe and participating in youth soccer includes:

  • Abuse Prevention
  • Background Checks
  • Head & Brain Conditions
  • US Soccer's Recognize to Recover Program
  • Goal Safety, Presented by KWIKGOAL
  • Required Policies

Player safety, health and wellness of our players is our number one priority.
Everyone must do their part, please use the information and resources contained in these pages to guide you and as a reference.

Safety Concerns


Nebraska Sports Center works to upholds the highest standards for participant safety by ensuring all adults engaged in our academy comply with the standards for background checks and abuse training. Not only is this the law, but because doing the right thing and protecting children is the core of who we are. An integral part of being a youth soccer administrator, coach, referee, volunteer and parent is abuse prevention and player health and safety. Read about the Law Here!

We need to ensure our children can enjoy the game in a healthy and non-threatening environment. These new requirements will necessitate additional steps and additional work for administrators, coaches, referees, volunteers and parents. This extra work and step is worth it to ensure we are doing what we can to create an environment that is safe. It is hard to believe but abuse in youth sports is more prevalent than most of us think. Together and with knowledge we can all protect our children!

Every adult who may have the opportunity to have direct and unmonitored access to children must complete:

  • A comprehensive background check and screening process;
  • A certified abuse prevention training course and/or an annual refresher course.

Learn about the Safesport Act Here

Back Ground Checks/Expanded Background Checks

Nebraska Sports Center has a focus on fighting child abuse that is consistent with new laws. Read about the Law Here! NSC is committed to an expanded background check/screening process. The new federal policy requires every adult associated with all Youth organizations who may have the opportunity to have direct and unmonitored access to children to have background screening that includes:

  • Nebraska Criminal Offender Record Information search and check
  • National Background search and check (inclusive of State and National Sexual Offender Record Information (SORI)

USSSA Youth Soccer will also screen against all necessary external databases, disqualification lists and disciplinary records.

The following individuals are required to participate in this background/screening process: coaches, team managers, board members (including: officers, directors, administrators), referees (All USSF Referees will complete their CORI through MSRC), Trainers, Volunteers, employees, contractors, concession workers, Tournament Organizers, Employees and Volunteers, and any other person age 18 or older who may have the opportunity to have direct and unmonitored access to children.

These checks will be conducted in a streamlined and simple process similar collecting data through Sports Connect.  Background and SORI searches, and each of these searches will have a common expiration date, lessening the need for multiple registration dates.



Nebraska Sports Center is committed to the safety of our players and to educate our players, parents, coaches, referees and administrators in the dangers of concussion-related injuries. Concussions are a serious health concern, and we take them seriously.

Our entire Membership is provided with tools and resources to educate them on the extreme dangers of concussions, on how we can prepare for and protect against concussions, to understand what causes concussions, how to recognize symptoms of a concussive injury and to detail how important proper medical assessment is in determining when a player can safely return to the game.

All adults, not just coaches, must now take the free CDC Concussion Training Course as it can only help to best serve the children of Nebraska.  By taking this free, online course and using what you learn, you will be well positioned to improve the culture of concussion. Your actions can help create a safe environment for young athletes so that they can stay healthy, active, and thrive – both on and off the playing field

Waiver, Release of Liability & Concussion Policy

I consent to voluntarily participate in a baseline concussion testing program in order to measure my baseline score.  I hereby state that to the best of my knowledge, I have no medical, mental, or physical conditions that may restrict me from completing a concussion test.  I understand that the information provided by testing is of a general nature and does not represent medical advice, medical analysis, medical diagnosis, or prescription for medical treatment.

Once the baseline data is collected, it can help detection of possible concussion or traumatic brain injury at an event.  It provides information for the parent and/or coach, staff or volunteer to consider when deciding whether to remove a participant from play.  In instances in which a test is given to my child/participant and the results do not seem to indicate an injury, I agree to make the decision whether to send my participant back into play, or if I am not present, I allow the coach, staff or volunteer to make the decision.  In instances in which a test is given and the results indicate the possibility of an injury, I agree that my participant will be removed from play and that I will obtain written medical clearance prior to participating in any athletic training, practices, or events.  I also agree to have my child/participant evaluated by a physician if he/she develops any signs or symptoms of a concussion, regardless of the results of any sideline testing.

I understand that the coaches and/or volunteers that administer the tests are not medical personnel and are not acting in that capacity.

I agree that Nebraska Sports Center, including its organizations, directors, offices, sponsors, employees, agents, successors, and assigns may, but have no duty to, provide me customary medical assistance, transportation, and emergency medical services.  I understand and agree that any time an individual is suspected of sustaining a traumatic brain injury or concussion, the individual should immediately seek the advice of a qualified and trained health care provider and should be monitored closely for the emergency of any signs and symptoms of an injury. 

I hereby take the following actions for myself and my legal guardians, executors, administrators, heirs, next of kin, successors, and assigns:  a) I WAIVE, RELEASE AND DISCHARGE from claims or liabilities for death or personal injury or damages of any kind which arise out of or are related to my child’s or my participant’s participation with any and all staff or employees of Nebraska Sports Center, all sponsors, and the trustees, officers, representatives, and agents of the above; b) I AGREE NOT TO SUE any of the persons or entities mentioned above for any of the claims or liabilities that I have waived, released, or discharged herein; and c) I INDEMNIFY AND HOLD HARMLESS the persons and entities mentioned above from any claims or liabilities assessed against them as a result of my actions.



Please visit the US Soccer Recognize to Recover page for further details on US Soccer’s comprehensive player health and safety program aimed at promoting safe play and reducing injuries in soccer players of all ages.

US Soccer Recognize to Recover webpage

US Soccer Concussion Initiative Guidelines

Goal Safety

Nebraska Sports Center will visit several fields throughout our area for games, we see an alarming number of unsecured or poorly secured soccer goals. We want to remind you of the seriousness of goal safety. If you ever see children climbing, hanging, or behaving improperly around a soccer goal it is your duty as an informed adult to put a stop to unsafe use. This is something we take very seriously.

From 1998-2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received reports of at least eight deaths and an estimated 2,000 emergency room visits by children under 16 years of age that were related to soccer goal tip-overs and structural failures. According to Anchored for Safety, a nonprofit initiative for promoting soccer goal safety awareness, five soccer goal-related deaths have occurred in the past two years.

According to US Youth Soccer, unanchored or improperly secured soccer goals account for seven of the top twenty insurance claims, nationally, in youth soccer. Three were fatalities and four resulted in injury to the players. The personal impact on players, families, teams and clubs is devastating. The combined financial losses amount to over $5 million, not including additional time or expense to defend the organizations. Playing on school or municipal fields does not absolve our organization of the responsibility or liability. 

Coaches & Parents of all Players should BEFORE EVERY PRACTICE, TRAINING ACTIVITY, AND GAME:

(1) Inspect: All goal posts and nets for safety, that they are properly anchored and secured.

(2) Inspect: The field and areas around the field that are being used for any sharp objects, broken glass or debris that could cause injury.

Goal Safety Policy Statement

As advocates for the healthy development of children, we need to be concerned with the soccer goal post safety. 


According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), most soccer goal post related deaths and injuries involved either unsecured or homemade goals. Injuries frequently occurred during horseplay such as climbing on the goal or attempting to do chin-ups, thereby tipping the goal over. All goals, whether homemade or manufactured, should be properly secured to the ground to avoid injuries or deaths associated with tip-over.


There are several different ways to properly anchor soccer goals. The number and type of anchors used will depend on factors such as soil type and goal weight.

Heat Policy 


Parents are best positioned in most circumstances to protect their children from heat related illnesses. Parents best understand how their children react to heat and whether they have underlying respiratory issues. Parents are also best placed to monitor their children’s hydration throughout the day and to influence what their children consume prior to attending a soccer game or training session. Therefore, we want parents to feel comfortable that they can hold their children out of a game or training session without consequence when they believe it is too hot for their children to participate. 

Training Sessions: 

In most cases, training sessions will be held on hot days. Making a club wide decision in all but extreme conditions will be rare as the effects of the heat will be different based on the age of the players, the time of the session and whether or not the session is held on grass or on synthetic turf. If training proceeds as scheduled, parents need to determine whether or not their player will participate in the training session. If the parent withholds the player from participating in the training session, there will be “no consequences” for the player for missing the session. But we do ask that the parent notify the coach that their player will not participate as early as possible. 


Except in the most extreme conditions, games will most likely proceed in hot conditions. With away games (including tournaments), we have no ability to cancel a match due to heat – it is not provided in the rules – and decisions will be at the discretion of the hosting club, tournament director or tournament organizer. Due to the unlikelihood that games will be cancelled due to heat conditions, we will be hesitant to cancel training sessions. Acclimatizing to the heat by training in it is the best way to prepare a player for a game and to limit the possibility of the player suffering from a heat related injury or illness in a game. In most cases referees will allow for stoppage for water breaks throughout those games. Typically those stoppages will occur halfway through each half. If you are unsure the referee is going to have a hydration break during a game, be sure to specifically ask for one. They are allowed in the rules of the game. 

Coaches: when running training sessions in the heat, you are reminded to: 

  1. Provide frequent breaks – no more than 15 minutes apart – and when possible, take the break in the shade. Breaks should also be longer than the normal breaks. 
  2. Allow any player who requests water, the ability to get water on request;
  3. Modify the session’s intensity and physical load to account for the weather;
  4. Pay particular attention to whether a player is showing signs of heat distress – and if such signs are seen, remove the player from the session and cool the player. In general, a player removed from a session due to heat should not be permitted to return. 

Additional information: 

In addition, we advise that – 

1. All coaches, when offered the opportunity for water breaks accept the offer during match play; 

2. Teams, when possible set your benches in shade, even if that requires the
spectators to sit in the sun, or spectators and players be placed on the same side of the field; 

3. All coaches, should instruct Parents to work with their children to make sure the player:
is adequately hydrated prior to the match, and has adequate fluid to remain hydrated at the match or training session. Any league game cancelled due to heat will be rescheduled, if possible. Any tournament game or training session cancelled due to heat will not be rescheduled or refunded.
Any camp or clinic cancelled due to heat will be rescheduled. 


Lightning Policy 

  1. Lightning Policy. The information provided applies to all matches, practices, and other outside activities.
  2. When someone at the site sees lightning or hears thunder, all activities are suspended immediately. Match play and/or training will not resume until 30 minutes after the last lightning sighting or thunder. During match play, the referee must temporarily halt play and will not restart play until the 30 minute rule has concluded. The referee may abandon the match. When play is suspended for lightning or thunder, everyone must seek cover inside vehicles at the field. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should anyone seek shelter under a tree!!!
  3. Should the match be suspended after half-time the match will be considered complete and the score at the time of stoppage will stand.

What to do if someone is struck by lightning: 

Call for help. Call 9-1-1. Get medical attention as quickly as possible. 

Give first aid. If the victim has stopped breathing, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. If the person has a pulse and is breathing, address any other injuries. Check for burns in two places. The injured person has received an electric shock and may be burned. Being struck by lightning can also cause nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing or eyesight.  People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge that can shock other people. You can examine them without risk.

Changing Weather Conditions

Always be prepared for changing weather conditions.
Send appropriate gear with your player when they are outdoors. Sunscreen, Bug Spray, Plenty of Water. As we transition from Summer to Fall, it may be warm when practice begins but may be cold by the end, be prepared with the proper attire in player’s backpacks.

We try to make announcements concerning training changes by 3pm. If weather conditions quickly change or worsen once training has begun, we ask that you are always alert to any immediate cancellations and get your child quickly.

If training is planned for outside and weather conditions change (we may be able to squeeze a team indoor) always be prepared with the proper footwear. We recommend you always have indoor and outdoor shoes with you.

Winter Weather Conditions and Policy

In the event of winter weather, if NSC can get coaches to training, training will be offered. NSC does NOT plan to cancel due to weather. We do NOT follow LPS decisions, as often conditions are different in the evening than they are in the morning. However, we do want the player parents/guardians to make the best possible decisions for your family as needed. You know your driving capabilities and vehicle limitations. No player will ever be disciplined or penalized for missing training or games due to weather. Always be Safe!

US Soccer Cold Weather Guidelines

Apps for Monitoring the Weather:

Coaches and parents are advised to have a weather app on their phone that monitors heat index and lightning strikes.

Good free apps to have are the following:
NOAA Weather App,
The Weather Channel APP,
Weatherbug App 



Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury

Ligaments are strong strands of collagen and other substances that connect bones. The two major bones – femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) – of the human knee joint are held together by four major ligaments. Two of these ligaments travel along the inside (medial collateral ligament) and outside (lateral collateral ligament) of the knee, while the other two are found deep within the joint (anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate).

Depending upon a number of factors, including age and gender, soccer players are at varying degrees of risk for sustaining an ACL or MCL injury during play. Injuries to either of these ligaments usually involve a partial or complete tear of the ligament.

Isolated MCL tears typically occur when a player’s knee is forced inward beyond its normal range of motion, often while the knee is twisting at the same time. As an example, this can happen when a cleat catches on the turf while the player is trying to change direction quickly.

ACL tears typically occur when a player lands from a jump or suddenly changes direction at high speed, generating forces beyond the intrinsic strength of the ligament.


VNA - Nebraska Sports Center
345 Speedway Circle, Suite #1
Lincoln, Nebraska 68502

Phone: 402-853-7100
Email: [email protected]

Copyright © 2024 Nebraska Sports Center  |  Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Log In