THE CONCUSSION DEBATE

The Physio Group Clinic – Physiotherapy

Concussion debates seem to be played out nearly on a weekly basis at the moment.

The 2 most notable recently are George North( below) who played on despite 2 head injuries and a momentary loss of consciousness. The other being the Tyrone County Board issuing a statement that star player Sean Cavanagh had not been concussed during a national league game and the medical team where satisfied that he could safely continue.

As you can see these 2 incidents have taken place under the watchful eye of full medical teams and yet the assessment / diagnosis is still extremely unclear.

So for coaches, managers and sports first aiders in charge of underage or amateur teams with no immediate medical back up what should you do if concussion is suspected?

I think firstly the question must be asked – What is concussion??

Concussion is the sudden but short-lived loss of mental function that occurs after a blow or other injury to the head. Concussion is the most common but least serious type of brain injury.

Symptoms of concussion include:
brief loss of consciousness
memory loss
disturbances in vision, such as ‘seeing stars’
confusion

If a neck injury is also suspected the player should not be moved until medical professionals have assessed them.

If concussion is suspected with no neck injury the player should be immediately removed from the field of play and not be left on their own.

They should then be advised to seek medical opinion.

The danger you have when dealing with a concussed player is that usually they are oblivious to being concussed thus they can’t reliably make a decision about playing on.

You must always make the decision for them and substitute them immediately as you are dealing with a BRAIN injury and a second blow in quick succession is extremely dangerous!