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  • Writer's picturejacob sciacca

Concussion management

Concussions, a complex consequence of trauma to the head, face, or neck, have emerged as a significant challenge in the sports arena. These injuries, transmitting an impulse force to the brain, demand a keen understanding for effective management and prevention of further harm.


Recognising the Signs and Symptoms: 

Concussion symptoms, affecting balance and cognition, can manifest immediately or evolve over hours. While commonly resolving within days, the recovery period varies among athletes. Recognising signs like headaches, emotional changes, and dizziness is crucial.


Navigating the Diagnosis: 

Diagnosing concussions is nuanced, with differences between adults and children. The Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT6) aids those without medical training, emphasising the principle, "if in doubt, sit them out." Professionals utilise tools like SCAT6 for adults and child SCAT 6 for children, for a comprehensive assessment.


To Scan or Not to Scan: 

Blood tests and medical imaging are generally unnecessary for uncomplicated concussions. However, suspicions of serious head or brain injury may warrant imaging for better evaluation.


Managing Concussion: 

With 70-80% of cases recovering within expected timeframes, a period of rest and a gradual return to sport are recommended. Relative rest for 24-48 hours is followed by light physical activity, ensuring no sustained symptom deterioration.


Graded Return to Sport: 

For community and youth athletes, a structured return-to-sport program is crucial. Physiotherapists can design personalised plans, incorporating gradual reintroduction of exercise and cognitive activities. Athletes should be symptom-free for at least 14 days before returning to contact training, with a minimum of 21 days before competitive contact sports.


Key Takeaways:

  • Immediate removal of athletes with suspected concussions is essential.

  • Diagnosis involves thorough assessments and the use of SCAT6 tools.

  • No same-day return to play for diagnosed athletes.

  • A graded return to play, guided by healthcare professionals, is crucial.

  • Youth and community athletes should be symptom-free for 14 days before returning to contact training.

  • A minimum of 21 days rest before returning to competitive contact sports is advised.


In the complex realm of concussions, a cautious and individualised approach ensures not just recovery but a safe and informed return to sports activities.

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