Concussion in Sport – latest report findings released
Concussion in Sport is under the spotlight again following the release of The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committees report which considers the link between sport and long-term brain injury. Their report found that urgent action is needed by the government and sporting bodies.
In January of this year, the team at Tollers highlighted in their article Do contact sports cause brain damage?, that many people do not consider concussion to be a traumatic brain injury, but it is.
Five of England’s 1966 world cup winning squad have been diagnosed with dementia, along with a number of ex-rugby players pursuing personal injury claims for brain damage. Whilst the Concussion in Sport report does not conclude for certain that there is a link between dementia and sporting activity, there is evidence to suggest that concussion and head injury are not taken seriously enough in sport. This can then lead to neurological problems later on in life.
There is concern from the elite playing levels down to the amateur games that concussion and head injury in sport is not dealt with effectively or safely. Those playing grassroots sports are without medical teams to advise them to come off the pitch after a head injury. Such games are often organised without structure and the decision as to whether to play on is often down to the individual. Many players deem themselves fit to play on, but risk second impact syndrome. This is when the brain has not had enough time to recover from an initial concussion and then sustains another blow to the head – which can lead to permanent damage and whilst rare, can be fatal.
The Committee recommends that knowledge and awareness of concussion should be made more readily available so that those injured can seek the required treatment. They believe that the responsibility for taking concussion seriously starts at the professional and elite levels, who should lead by example.
Since the publication of the report, the Premier League and the FA have announced the introduction of heading guidance, which will apply from amateur games up to professionals. The guidance recommends limiting the number of times heading practice takes place but also recommends that players should be responsible for monitoring their own heading activity. It remains to be seen as to whether amateur players will understand the significance of a blow to the head and highlights how far down this knowledge must reach.
The signs of a concussion injury are not always immediately apparent and can appear either immediately or in the days following the injury. The NHS website lists the symptoms to look out for and if in any doubt, medical advice should always be sought – NHS advice on Concussion.
If you are concerned about yourself or a member of your family following a concussion/brain injury…Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558, our highly experienced Brain Injury specialists are on hand to advice and guide you through the process of making a claim.
To review The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committees latest report click here: Concussion in Sport Report.