Concussion in Sport Policy - NSW Sport and Recreation Ms cAo bySsacASili Concussion in Sport Policy...
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Concussion in Sport PolicyIssued by Sports Medicine Australia V1.0 January 2018
Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) developed this policy with the
support of the New South Wales Office of Sport. SMA would like
to acknowledge the following people that assisted developing
Dr Paul Bloomfield(Chief Medical Officer, National Rugby League)
Dr Alex Donaldson(Senior Research Fellow, La Trobe University)
Dr Andrew Gardner(Clinical Neuropsychologist, University of Newcastle)
Dr David Hughes(Chief Medical Officer, Australian Institute of Sport)
Dr Warren McDonald(Chief Medical Officer, Australian Rugby Union)
The information in this policy is general. Reading or using this
policy is not the same as getting medical advice from your
doctor or health professional. All reasonable attempts have
been made to ensure the information is accurate. However, SMA
is not responsible for any loss, injury, claim or damage that may
result from using or applying the information in this policy.
The information in this policy should be considered and
interpreted in the context of other risk management, insurance,
governance and compliance frameworks and obligations
relevant to sporting organisations. Familiarity with relevant
International Sports Federation (ISF), National Sporting
Organisation (NSO) and State Sporting Organisation (SSO)
policies and requirements is essential to enable appropriate
interpretation and application of the information in this policy.
For more information about risk management and legal Issues
in sport, see the following NSW Office of Sport website:
Concussion in Sport Policy V1.0 Page 2
Concussion is a significant and complex health issue.
This policy will enable all sporting codes to know how to
recognise and manage concussion at all levels of play.
This policy is an educational and practical resource for State
Sporting Organisations. It will help them to create safe sporting
environments by providing important information about how to
recognise and manage concussion in their sport.
All the information in this policy is in line with the latest findings
from the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport, and
the 2017 Concussion in Sport Group (CISG) consensus statement.
The aim of this policy is to ensure that all players with a suspected
concussion - in all sports and at all levels - receive timely and
appropriate advice and care to enable them to safely return to
everyday activities and sport.
It will help players, coaches, officials and parents:
understand what concussion is and why it is
important, particularly for children
manage a suspected concussion
manage return to participation after concussion
know where to get more information about concussion.
Who Should Use this Policy
All stakeholders involved in sport including players, parents,
coaches, officials, teachers, first aid providers, sports trainers and
administrators, should know about and meet the requirements of
How to Use this Policy
The policy addresses recognition and management of
For each area, recommendations are provided, along with:
Who - Who are the people that play a key role to implement the
recommendation in this area.
How - What are the key tools and documents people can use to
implement the recommendations in this area. All relevant tools are
included in this policy.
Concussion in Sport Policy V1.0 Page 3
The aim of this policy is to ensure that all players with a suspected concussion - in all sports and at all levels - receive timely and appropriate advice and care to safely return them to everyday activities and sport.
To keep players healthy and safe, clubs and everyone involved in sport
- players, parents, coaches, officials, teachers, first aid providers, sports
trainers and administrators - must take steps to reduce the risks and
prevent an incident before it occurs.
Key steps to do this are:
One of the best ways to build a healthy and safe sporting environment
is to educate all stakeholders. This can increase knowledge, change
attitudes and improve culture.
Despite the recent focus on concussion, we still need to improve
concussion awareness and knowledge. State Sporting Organisations,
regional associations and clubs should have an annual process to
educate everyone involved in their sport about concussion. This should
include the most up to date information about how to recognise and
Concussion education should include information about:
What concussion is;
The causes of concussion;
Common signs and symptoms;
Steps to reduce the risk of concussion;
What to do if an athlete has a suspected concussion or head injury;
What should be done to ensure a proper medical assessment;
Return to school or work, return to sport and medical
Potential education strategies may include provision of appropriate
fact sheets to all stakeholders when they register with a club at the
start of each season or when they register for an event. Clubs and
event organisers should ensure that all stakeholders understand the
concussion protocols for their sport at the beginning of each season.
They should organise a pre-season face-to-face education session for
players, parents, coaches and other stakeholders.
Concussion in Sport Policy V1.0 Page 4
Pre-Season Preparation and Reducing Risks
One of the best ways to build a healthy and safe sporting environment is to educate all stakeholders.
1. EducationEducate everyone about how to recognise and manage concussion
2. InformationGather information about previous concussions
3. DesignationAppoint someone to be responsible for ensuring this policy is implemented
Pre-Season Preparation and Reducing Risks
Concussion in Sport Policy V1.0 Page 5
Knowing about an athletes previous concussions can help to identify players who fit into a high-risk category
Designate a Concussion Coordinator within a club or at an event who can ensure that the concussion protocol is communicated and followed.
2. Information - about previous concussions
Knowing about an athletes previous concussions can help to
identify players who fit into a high-risk category. It also provides an
opportunity to educate the athlete and their parents or family about
the significance of concussion injuries. If anyone is concerned about
an athletes concussion history, refer the athlete to a medical
practitioner for a full review. As with any other personal athlete
information collected by a club, this should be handled and treated
with full confidentiality.
Parents and players should be encouraged to report any history of
previous concussions to coaches, officials, teachers, trainers and
3. Designation: appoint a Concussion Coordinator
While everyone has a role to play in recognising and managing
concussion, having a person(s) - a Concussion Coordinator - within
a club or at an event who can ensure that the concussion protocol
is communicated and followed, is highly recommended. Ideally and
when resources permit, a medical practitioner, first aid provider or
sports trainer should be assigned this task. If resources are limited,
consider assigning a coach, official, teacher or administrator to this
role. Once a Concussion Coordinator has been identified:
give them the authority to make decisions and be proactive;
encourage them to keep their knowledge up to date; and
tell everyone who they are via the club website/newsletters,
and concussion-specific information (policy, fact sheet,
Pre-Season Preparation and Reducing Risks
Concussion in Sport Policy V1.0 Page 6
Players, parents and Concussion Coordinators all have a role in recognising and managing concussion.
The Roles of the Main Stakeholders
The main stakeholders all have a role in recognising and managing concussion:
report any potential concussion symptoms they experience;
report if they suspect a team mate or fellow player has concussion;
follow any medical advice they receive.
watch carefully for immediate and delayed signs and symptoms of concussion;
obtain proper care for their child;
inform other stakeholders of their childs health.
Designated Concussion Coordinator should:
ensure all stakeholders are aware of the concussion policy;
coordinate all concussion education activities;
organise and distribute concussion resources (posters, fact sheets etc, Concussion Recognition Tool 5);
ensure all stakeholders follow game day and practice concussion protocols;
notify parents of concussed junior players as quickly as possible and provide advice about further management of their child;
ensure concussed players follow appropria