Over the last few years, the issue of concussion in sport has been thrusted into the limelight. We regularly see this affect people across all ages and backgrounds, from local underage leagues, all the way through to top level.
Why is concussion important?
For example, in 2019, Liam Picken of the Western Bulldogs retired due to his history of concussion. St Kilda's Koby Stevens also hung up his boots in 2018 for concussion related reasons. Last month in a radio interview, Paddy McCartin bravely shared private details about how his history of concussions has affected his life, not only football, but also in his daily activities.
It goes without saying that concussion can be a worrisome aspect of sporting life for players and family alike. Our understanding of how to assess and treat this issue is constantly evolving as the topic gathers more attention in the media and more resources are devoted to research. There are stories of the coaches of yesteryear forcing players back onto the field after a concussion; a mindset thankfully relegated to the past. However, there is still a lot of misconceptions and guesswork surrounding how concussions are managed.
Will a concussion go away? And when concussion symptoms persist:
Research has shown that post-concussion symptoms can often resolve as quickly as 3-7 days after the initial incident. However, you remain vulnerable to a secondary impact for 4-10 times this duration. This period, approximately 30-days after initial concussion symptoms, is where we need to be careful in sending players back to sport since there is a false sense of full recovery.
It has typically been quite normally to see athletes returning to sport 1-2 weeks after a concussion. However, as per the most current research, this is strongly not advised. Since most professional athletes return to sport after a recovery period of 1-2 weeks, this has unfortunately set a benchmark for other athletes returning to sport too early. Instead, players need to be seeking out an evidence-based approach so they can make a full recovery and avoid secondary impact.
Now, how is concussion diagnosed and how is it treated?
At The Sports Injury Clinic, we have undertaken an initiative with an international program; Complete Concussion Management Inc. (CCMI) to help athletes return to sport safely. This initiative provides us with tools and strategies based on this most recent evidence to assist with the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of concussion and the various problems that may present alongside it. This ensures that we can provide the best possible level of care for you and your family.
For more information visit CCMI