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Office of Sport

Concussion in Sport Protocols

The NSW Government recognises the challenges around head trauma and concussion in community sport. The Office of Sport partnered with Sports Medicine Australia to release concussion protocols for NSW State Sporting Organisations.

Sports Medicine Australia is the peak national umbrella body for the prevention of lifestyle diseases through sports medicine and sports science and injury prevention. The partnership with the Office in Sport ensures a consistent approach and message on the management of concussion in sport is delivered across all sporting codes in NSW.

The concussion protocols were developed by a Chief Medical Officers Working Group established by Sports Medicine Australia, featuring some of the most respected sports medicine practitioners in the country. 

Who developed the protocols?

The group consisted of; Dr Paul Bloomfield (Chief Medical Officer, National Rugby League), Dr Alex Donaldson (Senior Research Fellow, La Trobe University Victoria), Dr Andrew Gardner (Clinical Neuropsychologist, University of Newcastle), Dr David Hughes (Chief Medical Officer, Australian Institute of Sport) and Dr Warren McDonald (Chief Medical Officer, Australian Rugby Union).

They have taken their collective experience and years working in the field, along with contemporary and the most up-to-date research, including findings from the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport, and the 2017 Concussion in Sport Group (CISG) consensus statement to develop new guidelines.

The concussion protocols are reviewed annually by Sports Medicine Australia.

Why are these protocols important?

Concussion has become one of the most significant health concerns affecting sport in New South Wales at all levels. While you have no doubt witnessed a serious concussion of some sort while watching professional sport in person or on TV, it is just as common and serious in local sport.

If you were working at your local club and you witnessed a serious collision involving two or more players, would you be able to recognise the signs of a concussion? 

Would you know how to manage a concussed athlete out on the field? 

And do you know the process after injury, Including initial recovery time and the return-to-play protocol?

These are serious questions which any sports volunteer should know yet may have never had access to the key information to properly answer.

The protocols are wide reaching and can be adapted to any type of sport at all levels with the key aim to ensure all players with a suspected concussion – in all sports and at all levels – receive timely and appropriate advice and care to safely return them to everyday activities and sport.

The protocols can be used by all stakeholders involved in sport including players, parents, coaches, officials, teachers, first aid providers, sports trainers and administrators and covers all major areas including understanding what concussion is and why it is important, recognising a concussion, managing a suspected concussion, managing return to participation after concussion and knowing where to find more information about concussion.

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