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New Sports Concussion Guidance: If In Doubt, Sit Them Out

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New guidance on how to manage concussion in sport has been introduced in Scotland, with the overriding message that all concussions are serious and “if in doubt, sit them out”.

Sportscotland, the national agency for sport, said that for the first time the guidance is not sport-specific. It is targeted at the general public and grassroots participants across all sports, particularly where medics may not be in attendance.

The guidance says that, at all levels and in all sports, if an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, they must be immediately removed from play.

Signs to look out for in a player include:

  • Dazed look



  • Motionless



  • Unsteady



  • Unresponsive



  • Confused



  • Seizure



  • Clutching head



  • Heightened irritability or emotion


It also recommends that any player with a second concussion within 12 months, a history of multiple concussions, players with unusual symptoms or prolonged recovery should be assessed and managed by a healthcare provider with experience in sports-related concussions.

The advice was drawn up by the Scottish government´s chief medical officer, senior medics, representatives from Sportscotland and several of the country´s sporting bodies.

Concussion campaigner Peter Robinson, whose son Ben died in 2011 after sustaining a double concussion during a school rugby match, welcomed the new guidance. He said: “Awareness of the dangers of concussion in sport is improving since we lost Ben but there´s still a long way to go, both in grassroots and professional sport. For too long concussion has not been taken seriously, and that has to change.

“With these guidelines we want to help those involved in sport, any sport, to recognise the signs of concussion and know how to deal with it there and then. If you have any doubts then don´t take the risk, sit them out and get them checked out.”