Concussion has become one of the most significant health concerns affecting sport in New South Wales at all levels. While you have no doubt witnessed a serious concussion of some sort while watching professional sport in person or on TV, it is just as common and serious in local sport.
If you were working at your local club and you witnessed a serious collision involving two or more players, would you be able to recognise the signs of a concussion?
Would you know how to manage a concussed athlete out on the field?
And do you know the process after injury, Including initial recovery time and the return-to-play protocol?
These are serious questions which any sports volunteer should know yet may have never had access to the key information to properly answer.
Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) has partnered with the New South Wales Office of Sport to develop a set of concussion protocols for State Sporting Organisations (SSOs) and State Sport Organisations for people with disability (SSODs).
SMA is the peak national umbrella body for the prevention of lifestyle diseases through sports medicine and sports science & injury prevention and the partnership with the Office in Sport will ensure a consistent approach and message is delivered across all sporting codes in NSW.
The concussion protocols were developed by a Chief Medical Officers Working Group established by SMA, featuring some of the most respected sports medicine practitioners in the country.
The group consisted of; Dr Paul Bloomfield (Chief Medical Officer, National Rugby League), Dr Alex Donaldson (Senior Research Fellow, La Trobe University Victoria), Dr Andrew Gardner (Clinical Neuropsychologist, University of Newcastle), Dr David Hughes (Chief Medical Officer, Australian Institute of Sport) and Dr Warren McDonald (Chief Medical Officer, Australian Rugby Union).
They have taken their collective experience and years working in the field, along with contemporary and the most up-to-date research, including findings from the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport, and the 2017 Concussion in Sport Group (CISG) consensus statement, to develop these new guidelines.
The protocols are wide reaching and can be adapted to any type of sport at all levels with the key aim of the policy to ensure all players with a suspected concussion – in all sports and at all levels – receive timely and appropriate advice and care to safely return them to everyday activities and sport.
The policy can be used by all stakeholders involved in sport including players, parents, coaches, officials, teachers, first aid providers, sports trainers and administrators and covers all major areas including; understanding what concussion is and why it is important, recognising a concussion, managing a suspected concussion, managing return to participation after concussion and knowing where to find more information about concussion.
The policy has been launched in tandem with the start of a series of free concussion workshops across NSW between February and May this year. These workshops will be presented by Dr Gardner, a key member of the Chief Medical Officers Working Group, to provide hands-on guidance and advice taken directly from the concussion protocols.
For more information and to view the new concussion protocols, please click here.
NSW Concussion Workshops
Workshops for Medical Practitioners
These specially tailored workshops will provide medical practitioners and professionals involved in sport with an in depth, detailed analysis of current concussion assessment tools and an open forum to ask questions and discuss ideas. Click here for more info or to register
Workshops for Clubs, Coaches, Parents and Players
The aim of these workshops is to increase knowledge and awareness of concussion, whilst exploring return to play and long term issues. Click here for more info or to register.