How dangerous is sport-related concussion?

10 Oct 2019

AMA members can access a free new CPD learning module on doctorportal Learning on Recognition and Management of Concussion in Sport.

Dr David Hughes, Chief Medical Officer at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and co-author of the new module says the awareness around the issue of concussion is happening at both professional and grassroots level.

“There is increasing parental concern, and there is an understanding that concussion is not just about professional contact and collision sports, but it’s actually a public health matter. In the professional sports, there is access to medical professionals and video replay, which makes identifying and dealing with concussion much easier, but at the school or amateur level resources are much more limited.”

Dr Hughes says there’s still a lot of confusion over the issue in the general community.

“You can have the situation where a child suffers a minor concussion and the parent immediately thinks their child will have long term brain issues, when there is just no evidence that this is the case. But we do know there’s a need to differentiate between children and adults. Symptoms take longer to resolve in children. The recommendation is to wait 14 days following symptom resolution before the child resumes competitive sport.”

Over recent years there has been elevated public awareness of sport-related concussion and increased focus on the importance of diagnosing and managing the condition promptly, safely and appropriately. Sport administrators, medical practitioners, coaches, parents and athletes are seeking information regarding the timely recognition and appropriate management of sport-related concussion. There is a need for clear, unequivocal and reliable information to be readily accessible to all members of the community.

Recognising concussion can be difficult. The signs and symptoms are variable, non-specific and may be subtle. Medical Professionals should suspect concussion when an injury results in a knock to the head and/or body that transmits a force to the head.

How do we ensure that individuals suffering concussion in sport are protected from further injury or health consequences in the short-term and long-term? The answer lies in educating all stakeholders that have an interest in sport-related concussion, including athletes, parents, teachers, coaches and medical practitioners.

Interested in Recognition and Management of Concussion in Sport? Access this free learning module to gain CPD points.