Youth group alters rules for illegal hits, players showing concussion symptoms

USA Football is amending rules for illegal hits and will allow game officials to remove players who show concussion symptoms. The sport’s national governing body on youth and amateur levels made the changes at its annual meeting in Indianapolis in attempts to make the game safer for youngsters.

The rule was changed to now include the shoulder or forearm, not just the helmet, being used on an opposing player above the shoulder — not just in the head. Such hits will result in a 15-yard personal foul penalty — and possible ejection. Illegal hits above the shoulder pads were a point of emphasis during the meeting.

In an effort to handle possible concussions more effectively, the organization strengthened a game official’s power to remove a potentially concussed player from the field.


ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Manchester United tied 0-0 at Manchester City, allowing defending champion Chelsea to open a four-point lead in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over visiting Fulham.

The Manchester rivals created few chances in a high-paced encounter at City of Manchester Stadium. United (6-0-6) tied for the fifth time in six road games this season, leaving it with 24 points. Chelsea (9-2-1) has 28.

Arsenal (7-3-2) remained third with 23 points, winning 2-0 at Wolverhampton. Manchester City (6-3-3) is fourth with 21 points.


AUSTRALIAN MASTERS: Tiger Woods opened his title defense with a 2-under 69, leaving him four shots behind the early starters in Melbourne, Australia.

Woods hit the ball as well as he has all year, except when he got on the greens. He took 19 putts on his opening nine holes, two of those coming on the par-5 17th when he reached in two with a blistering tee shot and a 2-iron to 30 feet.

Alistair Presnell and Adam Bland each had a 6-under 65.


BOYS’ SOCCER: Joe Collins scored both goals for Hebron in a 2-0 win over visiting Hyde in a MAISAD semifinal.

Lonnie Taylor stopped three shots for Hebron, which will play Kents Hill in the championship on Saturday. Alec Randall stopped 16 shots for Hyde.

Jordan Sanford scored in the 35th minute and Patrick Nichols made three saves in a 1-0 victory for Berwick Academy (15-2, 14-0 EIL) over Concord Academy (4-6-5, 4-5-5) at Concord, Mass.

GIRLS’ SOCCER: Chelsea Boucher had two goals to lead Hebron to a 6-2 win over visiting Gould in a MAIDAD semifinal.

FIELD HOCKEY: Ashley Doyle scored early in the second half to lift Kents Hill to a 2-1 win over visiting Hebron in the MAISAD final.


PARIS MASTERS: Andy Roddick reached the third round in Paris and took a big step toward qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals by beating Jarkko Nieminen 6-1, 6-4.