Sports Medicine Australia, the leading Australian sports medicine and science body, supports the football codes’ current conservative approach to concussion, as outlined in last night’s Four Corners program.
Under the football codes’ concussion guidelines (AFL/NRL/ARU), players who are concussed are automatically withdrawn from the game.
Sports Physician and Sports Medicine Australia spokesperson, Dr Rob Reid said this approach supports safety in sport and improved player welfare.
“One of Sports Medicine Australia’s aims is to enhance the health of all through safe participation in sport and therefore we support this conservative approach to concussion,” said Dr Reid.
“The knocks received by many football players can be quite severe so the last thing we want is to encourage players back onto the field to risk further head injury, especially when it has been suggested that full recovery of brain function may take longer than previously thought.
“By taking a conservative approach and allowing a complete recovery it is in the best interests of all football players and will reduce the risks of further injury and longer term damage.
“The take home message from last night’s program was that 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 football codes in regards to concussion is certainly evident.
“All those involved in sport – players, coaches, parents – need to be educated on the correct return to play practices, in order to correctly managed concussions, if and when, they occur,” said Mr Kenihan.
“Sports Medicine Australia provides education at all levels in regards to concussion. Our Sports Trainers are trained in the recognition of concussion and are across how it should be managed and the appropriate return to play management.
“Currently our level of research in Australia is quite well advanced, and in some ways ahead of the US. To date, there are several current research projects underway to address the issues of concussion impact and management, which we hope will extend our current knowledge,” said Mr Kenihan.
Last night’s program also discussed sub-concussions amongst NFL players, something which does not occur in our football codes.
“Our football codes are very different when compared to the NFL. Ours do not intentionally ‘butt heads’ which bring on the issue of sub-concussions. Comparing the sport of NFL to ours is like comparing apples and oranges. We are not in a position to generalise and certainly not in a position to compare,” said Dr Reid.
Sports Medicine Australia said the Four Corners program further highlighted the importance of trained personnel at all sporting clubs and encouraged the review of concussion symptoms – loss of consciousness, confusion, memory disturbance, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea and/or unsteadiness – at all clubs.
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