Con­cus­sion guide­lines boost aware­ness

Central Leader - - NEWS - By BEN ROGERS

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.

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