Coaches probably have the most important role in the prevention and management of concussion.
Research has shown that young players in particular rely on their coach to provide information on concussion and are influenced most in their behaviour towards concussion by their coach.
All coaches should be able to recognise suspected concussion and are in the best position to remove the player from play.
A concussion is an injury to the brain that cannot be seen on routine x-rays or scans. It affects the way a person may think and remember things for a short time, and can cause a variety of symptoms.
Any blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body which causes a sudden jarring of the head may cause a concussion.
A player does not need to be knocked out (lose consciousness) to have had a concussion.
Thinking problems the player may experience:
A concussion may have taken place if the player is unable to answer these questions:
It is very important that the player does not go back to Rugby League or any other sport if they have any concussion symptoms or signs.
Return to sport and activity must follow a step-wise Graduated Return to Play (GRTP).
They should not go back to Rugby League/sport until they have been cleared to do so by a doctor.
The signs and symptoms of a concussion often last for 7-10 days in adults but may last much longer, especially in younger players and children.
In some cases, players may take many weeks or months to recover. Suffering previous concussions may increase the chance that the person may take longer to recover.
You must remove them from play right away. Continuing to play increases their risk of more severe, longer lasting concussion symptoms, as well as increases their risk of other injury:
Concussion symptoms are made worse by exertion, both physical and mental. The most important treatment for a concussion is:
Once they are recovered, and cleared to do so by a healthcare practitioner they can start a step-wise increase in activities – see When can a concussed player return to rugby? . If possible, they should be seen by a doctor with experience in treating concussions.
Anyone with a suspected concussion should be seen by a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
They will usually give instructions to the injured person to return to them or go to hospital immediately if they have a worsening of symptoms such as:
Although it may not be possible to stop all concussions happening, there are some measures players can take that have the potential to reduce the number of concussions we see:
The information contained in this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for appropriate medical advice or care. If you believe that you or someone under your care has sustained a concussion we strongly recommend that you contact a qualified health care professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The authors have made responsible efforts to include accurate and timely information. However they make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of the information contained and specifically disclaim any liability in connection with the content on this site.