Injury rules question

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Injury rules question

Postby keeperdad » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:47 pm

This past weekend my son was at the Midwest Zone qualifying tournament and a call occurred that I have never seen before and if the rule was applied correctly it causes me to question the logic behind it.

The situation that occurred was a player was injured and play was stopped to address the injury. The player headed out of the pool and as he got out the ref stopped him, there was a short discussion and he jumped back in, still obviously hindered by the injury. Asking my son about what happened afterwards he said they were told that if he subbed out during the stoppage he would be deemed too injured to continue and would be excluded from the remainder of the game. He said there was a minimum amount of time he would have to stay in the game in order to not be deemed too injured to continue.

Granted the details are coming from a 16 year old so details often get lost in translation. This surprises me, given the current concussion issues we have seen across all sports, that there would be a minimum time spent in the pool after an apparent injury as the proof that it is not a severe injury.

Please tell me my son is confused.

Russ Thompson
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Re: Injury rules question

Postby Russ Thompson » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:12 pm

If the injured player is substituted for, then that player is out for the remainder of the game. The referee was probably reminding the 16 year old of that fact and giving the player an opportunity to assess the situation with full knowledge.

There is no minimum time that I am aware of.

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Re: Injury rules question

Postby Polodad63 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:08 pm

I was watching the womens World Cup game, USA vs Nigeria. US (Wombach) and a Nigerian had a hard collision, the Nigerian player received her 2nd yellow card and had to leave the match anyway. USA (Wombach) left the game to be evaluated for up to 3 minutes, while the US team played down a player while being evaluated. She returned in just a few seconds. Wouldn't this be a better rule for waterpolo then play on or leave the game for good.In the past, i have seen coaches call possibly injured player over and talk to them, but they didn't leave the field of play. Would they have been able to leave the pool while playing down a player?

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Re: Injury rules question

Postby keeperdad » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:48 pm

I guess I am still confused. Water polo, unlike soccer, has unlimited substitutions and as I understand it the player coming out swims to the entry point and the substitute enters and off we go. Why would this rule be different due to an injury? I understand (kind of) that if the game is stopped solely for the injury a "free" substitution at not a normal stoppage could be construed as unfair but if the player acknowledges that they are fine (even if they are not) and swims to the entry point as a normal sub doesn't that essentially get around the "removed from the game rule"?

It just seems odd that as fluid as substitutions occur during a game that there would be a more restrictive rule placed on an injury, when in the rest of the sports world rules around injury evaluation are becoming less restrictive/more player safety oriented. I would think a possible concussion (not the case in my situation) we would want immediate evaluation rather than placing the decision in a child's discretion as to if they are too hurt to continue.

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Re: Injury rules question

Postby DaCous » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:06 pm

I believe the issue is not about substitutions per se but rather, if the ref stops play for an injury, the player must be able to continue play or, the player must sit out. I believe the coach could also call a time out and avoid this. The intent is to make sure that a player does not fake an injury to get a free time out. Similar to football with an injury in the final moments of the game, you lose 10 sec on the clock. Also, this is the FINA/USAWP rule which is different from High school and college. Russ, did I get this right ?

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Re: Injury rules question

Postby keeperdad » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:48 am

I did a little digging after my last post and you are correct this is a FINA rule. I just think, especially in a youth tournament such as JOs, it would make more sense to require the player be subbed out, with the remainder of the team staying away from the side of the pool (to avoid the free time out), in order to be evaluated but able to sub back in after evaluation. I am much more familiar with soccer refereeing and in soccer player safety is the number one responsibility of the ref and I would think this would hold true for any youth sport. I feel putting the onus on a child to determine their degree of injury vs. their desire to not be excluded from the remainder of the game, is counter to player safety and counter to what most other youth sports are doing. I know my son will always "gut out" any injury until the next realistic sub opportunity as he would never voluntarily give up playing time. Potentially dangerous and stupid? Yes. A decision almost any 16 year old would make? Yes and the reason an adult should be involved in the evaluation and decision.

In the actual situation last weekend the player received an accidental eye poke which we all know is in most cases temporarily painful and causes temporary vision problems that generally clear up in a couple of minutes. In basketball this player would be able to sub out (even if they are set to take a free throw) and come back in at the next stoppage. In MMA events they are given 5 minutes to recover. In football you are correct about the time run off or timeout requirement at the end of the game but again that player is able to return on the next play. It just seems odd to exclude a player from an entire game for something temporary that happened, quite possibly through no fault of their own, especially at a youth level where safety and player development should be paramount even if in some rare circumstances it is an effort to "steal" a time out.

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Re: Injury rules question

Postby JCB » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:42 am

As a referee and player I have always found the injury rule to be a little confusing as well. Perhaps the actual FINA rule would help:

WP 25.1 A player shall only be allowed to leave the water, or sit or stand on the steps
or side of the pool during play in the case of accident, injury, illness or with the permission
of a referee. A player who has left the water legitimately may re-enter from the re-entry
area nearest his own goal line at an appropriate stoppage, with the permission of a
WP 25.2 If a player is bleeding, the referee shall immediately order the player out of the
water with the immediate entry of a substitute and the game shall continue without
interruption. After the bleeding has stopped, the player is permitted to be a substitute in
the ordinary course of the game.
WP 25.3 If accident, injury or illness, other than bleeding, occurs, a referee may at the
referee’s discretion suspend the game for not more than three minutes, in which case the
referee shall instruct the timekeeper as to when the stoppage period is to commence.
WP 25.5 Except in the circumstances of WP 25.2 (bleeding), the player shall not be
allowed to take further part in the game if a substitute has entered.

WP25.4 just talks about restarting play. So basically the player who is injured (if not bleeding) actually does have up to 3 minutes (not 5 like MMA) to recover and re-enter the water. If a substitute is required because the player cannot continue after 3 minutes, then they are out of the game.
If the player is bleeding, there is no 3 minute allowance and the game carries on after a sub comes in. As long as the player isn't bleeding any more, they can sub in any time after that. So I think a player would have to be pretty badly injured to not be able to recover within 3 minutes. Even if they are not fully recovered, all they need to do is re-enter the water when time is up and swim normally to the substitution area for a regular substitution. Then they cam recover for as long as they need to and not be excluded from the game.

I believe the coach, or staff if the play is at a high level, can evaluate the player and make the call whether the player can continue or not. That way it is not up to the player to just gut it out, as you say (and I agree that most young players would indeed play even when badly injured). This is why concussion protocols are important in the sport. All coaches must be able to recognize the symptoms and be prepared to take their players out of the game if there is a concussion risk.

Being FINA rules (which I use in my Province in Canada) and not high school or NCAA rules, I'm not sure how they differ from other organizations.

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Re: Injury rules question

Postby Kester82 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:48 pm

I can only speak for fina rules as I'm not sure of the US water polo rules but if there is an injury the referee would call a Technical time out, and as far as I know you are allowed to substitute players during a time out.

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Re: Injury rules question

Postby sidelineview » Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:39 pm

Kester82 wrote:I can only speak for fina rules as I'm not sure of the US water polo rules but if there is an injury the referee would call a Technical time out, and as far as I know you are allowed to substitute players during a time out.

True, but that is not the point of the discussion. The issue is that if a player leaves the game for a (non-bleeding) injury during the "technical timeout", that player may not return to play.

WP 5.6 At any time in the game, a player may be substituted by leaving the field of
play at the re-entry area nearest to the player’s own goal line. The substitute may enter
the field of play from the re-entry area as soon as the player has visibly risen to the
surface of the water within the re-entry area.

WP 5.7 A substitute may enter the field of play from any place:
(a) during the intervals between periods of play;
(b) after a goal has been scored;
(c) during a timeout;
(d) to replace a player who is bleeding or injured.

JCB (above) details Rule 25 concerning injuries...where it is stated that if a non-bleeding injured player is removed during the injury/technical timeout, that player may not return to play (25.5).

While we can all agree that in the US, NCAA and NFHS rules have it right concerning injuries (referee stops game with no loss of advantage; no injury timeout; team substitutes immediately; game resumes; injured player may return to game when ready), FINA/USAWP unfortunately have a much more stringent view on injury replacements. As advised above, it's best to have the player swim to the re-entry area (if able) and do a substitution as described in Rule 5.6. Then the injured player is eligible to return to the match.

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