Rugby Concussion Discussion

Part of the email I received about the AFL injuries were some papers written about the concussion issue in the National Rugby League (NRL), Rugby Union and of course Footy.  The first article was written by Fredric Gilbert, PhD and Bradley J. Partridge titled The need to tackle concussion in Australian football codes.  The gist of the article was about the still hidden injury of concussion, relating to reporting and return to play.  The authors wanted to point out that the cumulative effects of concussions are just now surfacing and that “all contact sports should adopt and evaluate the effects of precautionary policies that require concussed players to leave the field.”

What I really appreciated was the section devoted to youth sports;

Reducing the risk of concussive and subconcussive impacts is even more critical at the non-professional level, where there is a large population of vulnerable young players to whom a significant duty of care is owed.6 Most reported cases of second-impact syndrome (when a brain that has not healed from a previous injury suffers an additional trauma) that led to death or severe disability have occurred in young athletes.19 Yet most amateur teams do not have qualified health professionals or other staff who are trained to detect and assess concussion. At this level of sport, many concussions likely go unrecognised and incorrectly managed.20,21 However, if players and sporting organisations at the elite level change their approach to head injury and concussion, it is hoped that those at amateur levels will do likewise.

Although the state of athletic trainers – physios in Australia – is currently unknown to me it seems that the push is again for correct oversight for the youth.  Gilbert and Partridge seem to be addressing the same issue we have been here about youth concussions, which is great to see.  If the top-level of sport addresses the issue head on then it will trickle down.  Just like those players sloughing off the concussions to play – and the young players trying to emulate – management can work the same way.

The article above did prompt an editorial reply from some heavy hitters Continue reading

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