“If it doesn’t seem right it usually isn’t!”
That’s the take home message of the excellent awareness raising campaign launched by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland in Croke Park yesterday. Concussion is usually caused by a direct blow to the head, face or neck and results in temporarily impaired brain function. Concussion does not necessary involve loss of consciousness, but occurs commonly in all contact sports.
Typical signs and symptoms that should be observed for in a player following a blow to the head include; confusion, headache, nausea, dizziness, unsteadiness on feet, slow to answer questions, unawareness of opposition or score in a game, reporting seeing stars or flashing lights, easily distracted or poor concentration. The severity of concussion may be assessed based on the duration of the symptoms and duration of loss of consciousness if this occurred.
The onus of identification of concussion in a player falls on management and mentors since the player’s impaired cognitive function will not enable them to personally make the correct decision as to whether to play on or not.
The key messages for management teams from the ABI Ireland campaign are:
- Observe the player
- Remove from the game
- Get a medical assessment
Players are reminded that if it doesn’t feel right, it’s probable not and rest up and recover following trauma to the head and gradually return to play. Only through appropriate identification and management of concussion can we hope to reduce its incidence and prevent recurrent episodes in individual players which are potentially serious.