There was one incident though that was of concern. In the 40' a keeper saved a ball, it rebounded into play, was shot again, and knock the keeper in the head - HARD.
The ball careened back into play and the referee allowed play to continue, despite the keeper being down, motionless, on the ground. It was a little bit scary frankly as we were unsure about the players condition.
Play was eventually stopped a minute or so later, and the coaches allowed to enter, after being admonished by the SAR to not enter into the field with out permission (technically correct, but practically wrong at the U11 level with a head injury), and all was fine after a throughout checkover by a medical professional.
So, what's the lessons for this youth level match?
- For a head injury to a player, stop play, and immediately let the coaches enter. Let them deal with the injury. DO NOT assist (medically) an injured player.
- If you are an AR, allow this entry to happen right away. Have the guts to take the heat from someone (like an assessor) who is dumb enough to challenge you on this point at the youth level.
- Know thy restart. A player was attended to, do they need to come out? Was the ball out of play? Are there any special circumstances for the keeper? Know these first, as in my scenario, there was a 2 minute discussion between the referee and ARs over what should happen. Restarts need to be automatic at all levels ... yes even U11.
Player safety is a concern at all levels. Granted at the professional and international levels there is gamesmanship that is used, and the injuries can be much more serious.
Keep in mind too that a referee is responsible for ALL the participants safety. There is no more clear example of this shown recently by Hong Kong Referee with his piece, An Explosion On The Soccer Pitch.
It is an excellent post. For those who do not read HK Referee, I strongly suggest you do, as the skill shown in breaking down critical incidents is top shelf.