Concussion is described as a mild brain injury and may occur in any sport. Meath Local Sports Partnership teamed up with the Irish Rugby Football Union and Meath GAA to highlight concussion in sport. The workshop was designed to educate coaches, players, referees and parents on how to recognise concussion and the guidelines on return to play.
Shane Mooney, First Aid and Injury Prevention Coordinator with the IRFU addressed an audience representing GAA, soccer, rugby, cycling and martial arts. The message throughout the presentation was clear, concussion needs to be recognised, player removed from the game and a return to play protocol in place no matter the sport. “If in doubt sit them out” approach should be taken.
Concussion in Sports:
In a recent international Concussion Rate per 1000 Player Hours Scale – horse racing at 95.2 is a distant first with boxing at 13.2 followed by rugby at 3.9 and soccer at 0.4. There were no stats collected for Gaelic Games.
Why Concussion should be taken seriously:
Concussion must be taken seriously not only from the obvious danger to life; concussion if undiagnosed can lead to decreased on field performance, prolonged recovery periods, and a shorter playing career. Currently, the IRFU operate a traffic light system when it comes to concussion. Red – stop and inform medical staff or parents. Amber is rest and Green is return to play.
Visible clues of concussion are:
- Loss of consciousness – lying motionless on the ground
- Slow to get up/Unsteady on feet or falling over
- Confused, blank or vacant look
- Nausea or vomiting
Off -field Signs and Symptoms of Concussion include:
- Memory problems
- Sleeping more/less
Rest & Return to Play:
Shane explained that all suspected concussion be referred to a medical practitioner for treatment. Rest periods in rugby at adult level is 14 days with a further 7 days back training before a return to play is agreed and children at underage level up to one month. However, he stated that a national policy for all sports should be adopted by the Irish Government similar to what Scotland has recently agreed.
In addition to training coaches, medical staff and referees- Shane stated that players and parents in particular are the “key to recognising concussion so they can assist or support in the player or child’s recovery”. “Always air on the side of caution” if you suspect concussion no return to play on the same day should be adhered too, seek medical advice to be sure.
Questions & Answers:
Asked from the floor if there were different types of concussion, Shane said that “A concussion is a concussion” the length of time to recover or the symptoms may differ from mild to severe.
If you were to “group children together by age, size or weight in any given activity” would this help to decrease the levels of concussion reported? According to Shane Mooney, this was tried in New Zealand and no evidence that grouping them by age, size or weight worked.
Click HERE to view Presentation.