The onus of management of concussion injuries in field sports resides with team medics and mentors. Players must be taken out of the decision making process with regard to return to play since the transient impairment of brain function associated with such an injury will impair their ability to make a correct decision.
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. Team medics and mentors bear the responsibility of getting the player off the field of play and assessed properly when confronted with such injuries.
Concussion injuries in isolation need to be managed correctly and appropriate rest periods should be enforced after sustaining such an injury. Successive concussions in a season (2-3) are clinically more serious and necessitate a more prolonged absence from sport. If symptoms persist medical advice should be sought with regard to return to sports.