SPORTS medicine peak bodies are calling on everyone involved in sport to be up-to-date with the latest recommendations on treating and diagnosing concussion.
Experts from Australian Institute of Sport, Australian Medical Association, Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians and Sports Medicine Australia are united in their position: if in doubt, sit them out.
The Concussion in Sport Australia alliance comes ahead of football season, which has been particularly in the spotlight for sports-related concussion in Victoria and nationwide.
Data from an AFL Goldfields focus on women's football injuries is being collated from last season to be delivered to the AFL and with likely feedback to Goldfields clubs and coaches by the 2020 season.
AFL Goldfields operation manager Aaron Nunn said the study, in partnership with Federation University Australia, would continue to work with clubs to adopt best prevention and treatment for all injuries as the study developed this season.
Mr Nunn said there had been a strong uptake from clubs on recording injuries but it was important for trainers across all Goldfields leagues to have the latest sports medicine guidelines and be confident to err on the side of caution.
More than 40 sport and medical organisations have endorsed Concussion in Sport Australia's position statement, including Football Federation Australia, Cycling Australia, Basketball Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee. A new website features resources for athletes, coaches and parents across all levels of sport.
AMA president Tony Bartone said concussion was a broader health issue and everyone needed to play a part in reducing the impact.
“The first step is to understand how to identify the symptoms and when to seek medical support,” Dr Bartone said.
“Complications can occur, including increased susceptibility to further injury. That’s why the ‘sit it out’ message is so crucial, and anyone returning to sport following concussion should get medical clearance.”
Dr Bartone said concussion could be hard to recognise as it was not always a result of a direct hit to the head – any hit to the body that transmits a force to the head can result in concussion.
Meanwhile, Western Bulldog and former North Ballarat Rebel Liam Picken's AFL playing future remains unclear. The midfielder revealed earlier this month he was still experiencing headaches almost one year on from sustaining concussion in a practice match at Mars Stadium, Ballarat.
- For more resources: concussioninsport.gov.au.
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