Taking on concussion in sport

Leading sports medics gather for workshop


A Slovak player is being helped off the ice during the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images

DUBLIN – Sports representatives gathered in Dublin last week to collaborate on developing a unified approach to the implementation of key recommendations made by the Berlin concussion in sport group.

The important workshop, hosted by World Rugby on 20 July, brought together medics from Rugby, Rugby League, the NFL, Australian Rules Football and Football. Representatives from the IIHF Medical Committee and the National Hockey League were also on hand to represent ice hockey.

The workshop is seen as a major step towards a standardised approach to head injury prevention and management in sport and demonstrates the commitment of sports to work together to advance the welfare of athletes at all levels of participation.

“The workshop gave each federation an opportunity to share ideas and learn from each other on the implementation of the different aspects of the Consensus,” said IIHF Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Aubry.

“We all follow the Consensus but it was interesting to see how we apply it with respect to such topics such as the identification of visible signs to detect a concussion, the use of different tools in the assessment and management of concussion, educational resources and research in the field. We were also able to partner with the NHL in this workshop on strategies to spreading the knowledge to our hockey community.”

The Berlin statement, covering 12 questions, is a significant guidance document for all sports and is the result of a detailed review of more than 60,000 scientific papers reviewed by expert groups, including neurologists, neuropsychologists, neuropathologists, sports physicians and researchers.

Click here for more on the Berlin Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport.

This review and the latest concussion consensus statement delivered by the Concussion in Sports Group (CISG) made a number of key recommendations and includes an update on the Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT5), the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT5) and the Child Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (Child SCAT5), all three of which are currently being employed in a large number of sport federations and professional leagues:
  • The need for sports to adopt an evidence-based approach
  • The importance of the Recognise and Remove principle
  • Any athlete with suspected concussion must be immediately removed from competition
  • The SCAT tool currently represents the most well-established and rigorously developed instrument for sideline assessment
  • The importance of early exercise in return to play protocols

World Rugby joined other sports in welcoming the publication of the statement. However, while providing consensus guidance of what sports should do, it does not offer guidance on how to implement its recommendations, which is why sports are keen to collaborate.

“Concussion is a top priority for all sports and rugby continues to collaborate with other sports and leading medical and scientific experts to ensure the very best programmes are implemented to protect participants at all levels,” said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont.

“The 2016 Berlin Concussion Consensus Statement is a significant and welcome development for sport and society in the priority area of concussion,” said World Rugby Chief Medical Officer Dr. Martin Raftery. “It provides an excellent guide for all sports covering recognition, management, prevention, research and new knowledge for concussive events.”

“We collectively believe that a collaborative approach to adoption of the Consensus recommendations by sports would improve the welfare and safety of our players and we look forward to determining ways to harmonise our interpretation of the Berlin Consensus Statement recommendations and exchange and share information and identify areas for further collaboration.”

The meetings are hoped to codify a standard approach that will see athlete welfare benefits driven across all sports and beyond our own evidence-based prevention, management, and research initiatives, we welcome efforts from all sections of society designed to promote informed discussion around the issue of concussion.

– With files from World Rugby



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