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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More Conversations Down Under

As The Concussion Blog continues to gain recognition it seems that some of the information is being used around the world.  This can be noted in our analytics and seeing plenty of blog views from around the globe.  Not surprisingly the US has the most traffic, followed by Canada and Mexico.  The next most is the United Kingdom and Australia; presumably for our coverage of soccer and Aussie Rules.  Because of this we get vast amounts of email from around the globe, and Australia has been providing tons of information to help with the blog and insight of how things are handled in their part of the world.

Most recently I was sent the 2011 AFL Injury Report for a comparison of our numbers versus theirs.  Before we get into the actual concussion numbers it is interesting to note the most troublesome injury in football Down Under is hamstrings.  By far this muscular injury affects more players per club per season than any other.

Back to the injury report, an injury is defined as “injury or medical condition which causes a player to miss a match”.  It does not take into consideration any ailment that a player plays through or one that resolves in time for the next match.  This is not unlike the NFL and their injury listings giving rise to an actual reporting issue – one we have discussed many times.  If you look at the report they have historical perspective as well; in terms of concussion 2011 was the highest in incidence (1.1 new concussions/team/season) since 1992 (1.3 new concussions/team/season).  There was over double the incidence of concussion from 2010 (heck almost three fold since 2006) to this past year.

The primary question was how does the official numbers jive with our numbers here; the answer is Continue reading

AFL Has New Changes, Inducing Questions

The Australian Football League has stated that they have “new” rules on concussions.  However Kim Hagdom of SportsNewsFirst.com.au seems to disagree.  Before we get to what was said by the AFL operations chief, take a look at this video;

Yup, a lot of hits in this game Down Under have the extreme potential for head injuries.  However, the AFL says it is under control;

Anderson clarified his ruling with a strict “if a player is clearly concussed he will not be allowed back onto the playing field”.

If a player is “clearly concussed” there’s never been any doubt that he wouldn’t go back into a match or continue in a game.

As Hagdom also penned; what happens when they are not so “clearly” concussed.  Or, even better what is the definition of “clearly Continue reading