Soccer Injured Player Rules

Soccer Injured Player Rules

Though strict equipment rules and penalties help keep soccer as safe as possible, injuries will inevitably occur. As with any other aspect of the sport, there are rules and regulations that must be followed when a soccer player is injured. Read on to learn the general procedure followed after an injury and any exceptions to those rules.

General Procedure

When dealing with injured players, there are certain procedures that the referee will follow. Outlined by the Laws of the Game, the general procedures are as follows:

  • If a player is seemingly only slightly injured, the referee will allow play to continue until the ball goes out of play.
  • If a player is seriously injured, the referee will blow their whistle to halt play.
  • A maximum of two doctors are allowed on the field to assist the injured player.
  • The referee may permit medical staff to bring out a stretcher.
  • The referee must ensure the injured player is able to leave the pitch safely and swiftly.
  • A player is not allowed to receive treatment on the pitch.
  • If a player is bleeding, they must leave the field of play.
  • An injured player may only return to the field of play when play has restarted.
  • Only the referee may permit an injured player to return to play.
  • Play is restarted via a dropped ball after injury.
  • The referee must keep track of how long the injury time takes and add it to the added time at the end of the half.
  • If the injured player is receiving a card, they must be shown the card before they leave the field of play.


Though uncommon, there are certain special exceptions to standard injured player procedures. These are made only when:

  • A goalkeeper is injured.
  • A goalkeeper and an outfield player have collided and need immediate attention.
  • Players from the same team have collided and need immediate attention.
  • A severe injury has occurred, such as a concussion, a broken leg, or a swallowed tongue.

When such exceptions occur, play is immediately paused until a referee decides that it is safe and appropriate to continue play and the proper player substitutions have been made. The injured player also does not have to immediately leave the field of play as they do with other non-exceptional injuries. Any time lost by this stoppage of play is added to the total time that each half lasts.