Judge dismisses 'soccer mom' concussion lawsuit

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, Calif., cited "fairly incomprehensible" claims in dismissing the lawsuit against FIFA, U.S. Soccer and four U.S. youth organizations alleging that soccer organizations have failed to provide adequate concussion management.

The lawsuit sought the establishment of a medical monitoring program for players with concussions and head injuries and the implementation of "return to play" guidelines, a change in substitution rules and restrictions on heading by players under the age of 17.

"It should be pretty clear to you all that I'm going to dismiss this complaint," said the judge. "I still, after more than three hours of discussion, have grave concerns about inconsistencies and contradictions, and lack of clarity."

U.S. Youth Soccer, U.S. Club Soccer, AYSO and the California Youth Soccer Association (Cal North) were also named as defendants in the class-action Mehr vs. FIFA suit, which did not seek monetary damages but asked that the medical monitoring program be paid for by a trust fund set up by the defendants. The suit also asked for medical personnel to be required at games and practices.

U.S. Soccer lawyer Russell Sauer disputed claims that concussions are epidemic in soccer, citing a study that put the concussion rate per 1,000 games or practices at 0.19 concussions for males and 0.33 percent for females.

Steve Berman, a lawyer for the soccer parents, said he told the judge he will file a revised complaint to address the judge’s concerns.

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