Concussion guidelines boost awareness
New guidelines have been released by ACC to help reduce harm from concussion.
ACC has worked with New Zealand Rugby, NZRL, NZ Netball and NZ Football along with AUT University’s Sports Performance Research project to address the issues related to concussion in sport.
‘‘It’s not just the financial cost but the decline in general health and quality of life for the injured person following the injury,’’ ACC chief clinical adviser Dr Peter Robinson says.
The guidelines come after 17-year-old Northland rugby player Jordan Kemp collapsed during a game and died the next day after suffering a brain bleed.
Doctors were unable to say if the injury was linked to a concus- sion Kemp had sustained from earlier in the season.
More than 7000 head injuries are recorded as a result of sport related activity every year.
The new guidelines state that if concussion is suspected the player must be removed from play immediately and seek urgent assessment by a doctor.
‘‘People need to understand it is a mild brain injury rather than just something that happens on the sports field,’’ NZRL national talent development manager Dean Watkins says.
‘‘We really want to bring a lot of awareness around the subject.’’
Dr Mark Fulcher from NZ Netball and NZ Football expects reported concussions to rise if the guidelines are to work.
‘‘We have all seen a culture change in our sports over the last five to 10 years and we are hoping these guidelines will help through the change,’’ Fulcher says.
‘‘When I see patients in my clinic there is a lot more acceptance that it’s going to take time and they want to get better before they get back to sport.’’
NZRU game development manager Richard Skelly says we need to get away from the ‘‘harden up and get on with it’’ mentality.
‘‘Certainly from a rugby point of view we are trying to change that. We are getting a lot more aware of concussion symptoms and a lot more concussions reported now.’’
All parties agree that there is an onus on the player and teammates to recognise that concussion may have taken place and to ensure the player is removed.
‘‘The important thing is to get everyone involved to ensure a high standard of care across New Zealand,’’ Robinson says.