More Than 17,000 Athletes in Girls' and Boys' Development Academy Will Take Pledge from Sept. 2-10

CHICAGO (Aug. 30, 2017) - Recognize to Recover, presented by Thorne, and ThinkTaylor are partnering during the opening weekends of the U.S. Soccer Girls' and Boys' Development Academy to educate more than 17,000 players about handling concussions in the sport.

As part of U.S. Soccer's continued effort to promote safe play and reduce injuries in soccer players of all ages, the Concussion Awareness Week will take place from Sept. 2-10 and all 197 member clubs will take part in the campaign.

Players will be encouraged to take the #TTPledge, which is an oath from athletes to be educated on concussion symptoms, to be honest in their self-evaluation and to be supportive of anyone with a concussion.

After watching the #TTPledge video, players and coaches will take the #TTPledge via an online form on Each club will share that their teams have taken the pledge on social media using the hashtag and special ThinkTaylor filters. Clubs will also receive Recognize to Recover/ThinkTaylor wristbands, pledge cards and bag tags with the #TTPledge that will be a season-long reminder about concussion awareness.

"We're looking forward to this partnership between Recognize to Recover and ThinkTaylor as we continue to connect with youth players across the United States about their health and safety," said U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer George Chiampas. "An important part of managing concussions is making sure that players are educated on how to identify when a possible head injury occurs, and are empowered to inform their parents and coaches. We want to change the culture within the game around reporting concussions and that needs to start at an early age."

Recognize to Recover, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive program dedicated to safe play and reducing injuries, was launched by U.S Soccer in 2015. The program was developed with the help of medical experts to provide coaches, players, parents, referees with information, guidance and educational materials to improve the prevention and management of injuries.

Concussion and head injury awareness and prevention are a core part of the program, and in 2016 U.S. Soccer released a new video designed to raise awareness of this important issue and highlight it throughout its coach and referee education programs.

WATCH: Recognize to Recover Concussion Awareness Video

ThinkTaylor was founded in 2011 by former Men's National Team player Taylor Twellman after he was forced to retire from professional soccer due to post-concussion syndrome (PCS). ThinkTaylor is dedicated to changing the culture of traumatic brain injuries and aims to dispel the notion of concussions as something to "shake off" or play through, and establish protocol of handling brain injuries with the utmost seriousness.

"There were times in my career I wasn't honest with my coaches, my parents, my teammates, and it only made things worse," said Twellman. "When you recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and you do something about it, you are already on the road to recovery. That's why it's so important to me that athletes are educated and honest about concussions. We only have one brain and it needs to last a lifetime."

As the 2017-2018 Development Academy season is set to kick off, Concussion Awareness Week is part of the Academy and U.S. Soccer's continued commitment to the long-term health and safety of its players.

The Girls' Academy begins its inaugural season on Saturday, Sept. 2. Opening weekend is highlighted by the Girls' Academy's first-ever live stream feature game - a contest between Sky Blue - PDA (Somerset, N.J.) and FC Virginia (Chantilly, Va.) streamed live on the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Facebook Page from Somerset, N.J. at 11 a.m. ET.

A week later, the Boys' Academy kicks off with a feature game on Saturday, Sept. 9 in Columbus, Ohio between Crew SC Academy (Columbus, Ohio) and Crew SC Academy Wolves (Wixom, Mich.). The game will also be streamed live on the Academy Facebook Page.