We follow collision sports around the world as this issue is not localized to just North American sports. With heading in soccer to the aerial displays of winter/action sports to the high-speed knocks in rugby, everyone can stand to learn and be prepared for concussions. As we have kept saying it is just part of the game. Yes, we would like to minimize every chance of concussion but realistically now is the time for awareness and proper management.
I keep an eye on Australia, especially now as the AFL is getting ready for play, and have criticized the apparent lack of understanding of concussion in Footy. The other big sport this time of year Down Under is rugby, with the National Rugby League 21 days away from starting. This sport to has drawn both good and bad from me and the visitors of the blog, but I read something today from the Herald Sun that makes me want to stand up and say “about time!”;
THE NRL is launching a crackdown on serious head-trauma injuries with clubs warned they will be investigated and fined for allowing concussed players to return to the field.
In a landmark step for the code, an official guideline on head-trauma incidents has been included in the game’s laws for the 2012 season following a US-based study of the potential repercussions on athletes allowed to play on with concussion.
We have been trying to gain a presence in Australia with awareness; tracking the Footy injuries as well as sending no fewer than 10 email correspondences to various press and medical groups. It is not a case of “I told you so” with the sudden about-face regarding a United States study, that information has been there for years. Rather, it is a case of those Down Under fully grasping and finding the information we have been privy to;
“From research that has come out of the United States, repeated concussions can be associated with problems later in life such as depression, dementia and even suicide.
“We have to educate a whole generation of players and coaches who up until now believe head injuries are trivial, that you are a wuss if you don’t want to go back on.”
It does seem odd that with the availability of information via the world-wide web, that doctors are now beginning to take it serious away from this locale. However it does show how important certain things rank in different parts of the world. What is more, is that the International Rugby Board (IRB), has had a mechanism in place that was both praised by me and then shredded in practice by a situation in the Worlds.
It is about time, and now that the NRL will have some “teeth” to their concussion rule makes this both interesting and promising at the same time. We look forward to following this story in the coming months.