New recommendations for sports-related concussions by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) state that any child or teenager with a potential concussion should not be allowed to return to the sporting field for at least two weeks after their symptoms have cleared.
The AMA and the AIS released the results of the long-running project and a website to help to identify key symptoms of sports-related concussion and how to respond.
‘The website launched by the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Institute of Sport provides evidence-based information on how to identify and manage concussion in sport.’
Outgoing AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, and AIS Chief Medical Officer, Dr David Hughes, launched the Position Statement on Concussion in Sport and the Australian Government-funded concussioninsport.gov.au website at the 2016 AMA National Conference in Canberra.
"Both the AMA and the AIS want to help make sport and physical activity safer for everyone," said Professor Owler, a neurosurgeon.
"Playing sport is good for both physical and mental health, and all Australians should consider becoming more physically active. However, it is also important to remember that concussion can affect athletes at all levels of the sport, from school children to full-time professionals."
Sports-related concussion is a type of brain injury, and its symptoms may change over time. Thus, it is crucial that athletes and those playing sport are diagnosed and managed immediately, with appropriate care and ongoing monitoring.
"The message is this - if in doubt, sit them out. Missing a couple of weeks of playing won't kill them, but letting someone with a brain injury back onto the field - even just the training field - can be disastrous."
Children and teenagers are vulnerable to sports-related concussions. Playing sport is a part of childhood, but, it can lead to injuries in the developing brains. The symptoms of concussions can resolve within a week to 10 days with correct medical diagnosis and treatment.
"In the case of children and adolescents, they should follow a return to play protocol and not return to contact training or play for at least 14 days after their symptoms have cleared."
The website provides athletes, coaches, parents and medical practitioners with timely, simple, evidence-based information on how to identify and manage concussion in sport.
"It is pleasing to be able to finally release the results of this long-term joint project with the AIS, and to be able to give parents and coaches the guidance they need when dealing with suspected concussion," said Professor Owler.