Sport-related concussion is a growing health concern in Australia. Public concern is focused on the incidence and potential long term consequences of concussion. Children may be more prone to concussion and take longer to recover. The Australian Institute of Sport and the Australian Medical Association have collaborated to present the most contemporary evidence-based information in a format appropriate for all stakeholders. This position statement aims to ensure that participant safety and welfare is paramount when dealing with concussion in sport.
First aid principles apply in the management of the athlete with suspected concussion, including protection of the cervical spine. Tools exist for use by members of the community, allowing identification of key symptoms and signs that raise the suspicion of concussion. Medical professionals should use the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3, in conjunction with clinical assessment for the diagnosis of concussion. Clinical assessment includes mechanism of injury, symptoms and signs, cognitive functioning, and neurological assessment including balance testing. In any situation where concussion is suspected, the athlete must be immediately removed from sport and not be allowed to return to activity until they have been assessed by a medical practitioner. “If in doubt, sit them out.”
A diagnosis of concussion requires immediate physical and cognitive rest, followed by a structured, graduated return to physical activity. Children require a longer period of recovery from concussion. Algorithms are provided for use by medical and non-medically trained stakeholders in the recognition and management of concussion.
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