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Sports concussion guidelines updated

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Guidelines on how to manage concussion in sport have been updated.

The original guidelines were published in Scotland in 2015, and were the first in the world to cover all sports. They are aimed at the general public and grassroots sport participants, particularly where medics may not be in attendance.

The new guidelines reflect updates to the global sports concussion guidance. While the previous guidelines advised rest as the main treatment for concussion, the advice now is that, like any other injury, the brain needs to rehabilitate rather than rest.

“A concussed brain should be challenged in controlled stepwise increases in function to rehabilitate it back to a normal life of work or school as the first priority, and then again stepwise increases in physical activity to get back to sport,” explained Sportscotland, the national agency for sport.

“Young developing brains need slower rehabilitation and hence the minimum times for return to sport are different for adults, adolescents and children.”

Concussion campaigner Peter Robinson, whose son Ben died in 2011 following repeated concussions during a school rugby match, commented: “It only takes one person to recognise the signs and symptoms of concussion and that could be a teammate, spectator, parent, coach or referee.

“At grassroots level we don’t have the luxury of the medical backup that professional sports do, so we all have a duty to be informed to ensure that it’s the safest playing environment possible for participants to enjoy an active lifestyle.”

Although evolving evidence into head injuries in sport has been the driving factor in refreshing the guidelines, said Sportscotland, the overarching message remains the same: all concussions are serious, and if in doubt, sit them out.