If in doubt, sit them out
The AMA has joined with other leading sports medicine experts to launch a Position Statement on concussion in sport.
Under the message ‘if in doubt, sit them out’, the statement urges athletes, coaches and parents across all levels of sport to be more conscious of concussion injuries and not rush to return someone to play after they have been concussed.
The document and accompanying website give those involved in sport access to the most up-to-date, trustworthy recommendations on how to diagnose and treat concussion.
The Concussion in Sport Australia Position Statement was launched at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra in mid-February.
The AMA partnered the AIS, the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP), and Sports Medicine Australia to establish awareness group Concussion in Sport Australia to help promote more discussions about the signs and dangers of concussion.
“Sports-related concussion can affect athletes at all levels, all ages, and across a wide range of sports,” AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said.
“Concussion can be hard to recognise. It is not always a result of a direct hit to the head – any hit to the body that transmits a force to the head can result in concussion – and symptoms may take hours or even days to develop.
“We don’t want to stop people participating in sport. Physical activity is crucial for all of us, not just for our health, but for social engagement.
“However, it is important that athletes, coaches, parents, teachers, and doctors understand some fundamental information about identifying and managing sport-related concussion.
“We can’t negate all the potential complications that may arise from a concussion, but with prompt identification, medical assessment, and management, we can minimise the risk of those complications.
“This is even more critical when we are dealing with the developing brain in children and adolescents.
“Our message to anyone who suspects a child or teenager has been concussed in sport is clear – if in doubt, sit them out.”
AIS Chief Medical Officer Dr David Hughes said there was growing concern in Australia and internationally about the incidence of sport-related concussion and the potential health ramifications for athletes at all levels of sport.
“The website provides a valuable and trusted resource for the management of sports-related concussion for all Australians, regardless of the sport, location or level of participation,” Dr Hughes said.
ACT Brumbies and Australian Rugby 7s player Tom Cusack said everyone involved in sport should ensure that a participant’s health is the number one priority.
“As a professional athlete, I know the importance of a player’s health – it should be the focus of all sporting organisations,” he said.
CHRIS JOHNSON and MARIA HAWTHORNE
The Concussion in Sport Australia Position Statement is at: https://ama.com.au/position-statement/concussion-in-sport-2019
A range of videos, fact sheets, online training, and other practical resources relating to concussion in sport can be found at: https://www.concussioninsport.gov.au
Published: 13 Feb 2019