During Brain Injury Awareness Week (August 13-19) Sports Medicine Australia, the leading Australian sports medicine and science body, is calling on all sporting clubs to ensure their concussion management practices are up to scratch.
It is vital all sporting clubs have personnel trained in the management of concussion and are aware of the symptoms of concussion – loss of consciousness, confusion, memory disturbance, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea and/or unsteadiness.
Sports Physician and Sports Medicine Australia spokesperson, Dr Rob Reid said sporting clubs need to be vigilant with concussion and approach it conservatively, as seen in the recent AFL and ARU concussion policies.
“One of Sports Medicine Australia’s aims is to enhance the health of all through safe participation in sport and therefore a conservative approach to concussion is best,” said Dr Reid.
“The knocks received by sports participants can be quite severe so the last thing we want sporting clubs to do is encourage players back into play to risk further head injury, especially when it has been suggested that full recovery of brain function may take longer than previously thought.
“Brain Injury Australia has come up with the concept of the ‘5 R’s’. These are: Recognise the injury, Removal from play, Referral to a doctor, Rest (including complete cognitive and physical rest until symptoms settle), and then a graded Return to play. Taking this approach and allowing a complete recovery is in the best interests of all and will reduce the risks of further injury and longer term damage.
“The severity of a concussion in the long run will be determined by how well it is managed when it occurs. This is where reliance on and education of trained sporting personnel is so important,” said Dr Reid.
Sports Medicine Australia President, Michael Kenihan said the need for better education at all levels and across all sporting codes in regards to concussion is certainly warranted.
“All those involved in sport – players, coaches, parents – need to be educated on the correct return to play practices, in order to correctly manage concussions, if and when, they occur,” said Mr Kenihan.
“Hopefully through Brain Injury Awareness Week, concussion can be taken seriously and its prevalence and impact drastically reduced,” said Mr Kenihan.
Sports Medicine Australia provides education at all levels in regards to concussion. Sports Medicine Australia Sports Trainers are trained in the recognition of concussion and are across how it should be managed and the appropriate return to play management.
For further information on concussion education visit http://sma.org.au