The Sport & Recreation Alliance, in association with The Football Association, have issued concussion guidelines for the education sector (June 2015)
Who are the guidelines for?
The guidelines are for professionals working in the education sector with children and young people 18 or under. However, the guidelines could also be applied to over 18s in the absence of other advice.
Can parents use the guidelines?
Parents might also find the guidelines useful as they have a key role to play in the heath of their child, and making sure their child is looked after properly.
What do they say?
The guidelines set out how professionals in the education sector should deal with incidents of concussion.
Don’t schools have their own policies around concussion?
Schools will have protocols and procedures for head injuries but specific guidance on concussion has been lacking. It is hoped that the guidelines will sit within these existing policies.
What is the evidence behind the guidelines?
The guidelines are based on existing good practice around concussion including the Zurich Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport and tools such as the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool.
The guidelines are also approved by an independent medical expert panel who have additionally considered the main research published since the last consensus statement:
• Dr Mike England (Facilitator), Community Rugby Medical Director, Rugby Football Union
• Peter Hutchinson, Professor of Neurosurgery, NIHR Research Professor University of Cambridge
• Dr Richard Greenwood, Consultant Neurologist National Hospital London
• Alison Raw, Professional Adviser for Allied Health Professions based at the Department of Health
• Tony Belli, Professor of Trauma Neurosurgery, University of Birmingham and Consultant Neurosurgeon Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Also Director of the NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre (Trauma Research) at the University of Birmingham
Who else has endorsed the guidelines?
Forum members, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine and the Society of British Neurological Surgeons and British Neurotrauma Group.
We have worked closely with Government departments to produce the guidelines. They are showing their support by helping publicise the guidelines and we continue to work with them on how to raise awareness of the guidelines in the wider population.
Are the guidelines England only?
The guidelines have been developed in an English context but we have looked to align them with the Scottish guidelines that were published towards the end of our development process.
Shouldn’t children and young people be made to play non-contact sports to avoid risks of concussion?
Children gain many health, psychological and social benefits from playing a range of sports including contact sports. For many, contact sports are their preferred and main form of physical activity and health risks associated with inactivity far outweigh the risks of concussion. Concussion is also a risk not only in sport but in every-day life. The important thing is that incidents of concussion are handled correctly and if people aren’t sure what to do they should seek medical advice.
If children are concussed shouldn’t they avoid sport all together?
The guidelines set out recommended rest periods to allow for recovery, as with any other injury, followed by a graduated return to play process which slowly and safely introduces the child back to not only sport but also education.
Aren’t these guidelines too late? Ben Robinson died in 2011.
Ben Robinson's case is tragic and his father Peter continues to raise awareness and push for better understanding of the potential consequences of not taking concussion more seriously and not managing concussion properly. Many sports have had concussion guidance in place for many years but awareness and understanding of this condition has developed over recent years, and is still developing as there are still large gaps in the knowledge around concussion. These guidelines have been created to help raise awareness further, bring a consistency to the key messages, and help reduce the risk of this type of incident happening again.
Where can people find out more?
On the Alliance website – www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/concussion-guidelines
If I want to speak to a professional in further detail about the guidelines who should I contact?
Who are members of the Forum on Concussion in Sport and Physical Education?
The following organisations are represented on the Forum:
• Sport and Recreation Alliance • Department for Education
• Department for Culture, Media and Sport
• Department of Health
• Rugby Football Union
• Rugby Football League
• England and GB Hockey
• England and Wales Cricket Board
• Football Association
• British Boxing
• British Snow Sports
• Child Protection in Sport Unit
• Youth Sports Trust
• Association for Physical Education
• Sport England
• English Institute of Sport
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