Whether children/young adults play Football or Rugby they could be in danger of sustaining at the very least a concussion and/or “minor head injury”. Most recently Tottenham keeper Hugo Llioris briefly lost consciousness during Tottenhamâ€™s game against Everton when he collided with Romelu Lukaku. He was assessed on the pitch and allowed to carry on. But Football unions called for changes to the Head Injury Guidelines with the Professional Football Association saying that footballers should be removed from play is they lose consciousness.
So what happens at schools or local football matches that children/young adults play in, what are the guidelines there and is there someone suitably qualified to spot the signs of concussion and/or a minor head injury.
We certainly do not want to stop our children/young adults from playing such sports but we have to be confident that the continued participation in such sports is not causing lasting damage to those who play.
Many Rugby players will suffer will suffer repeated concussions during their career. But similarly footballers who header a fast moving ball can find that the impact is severe given the force by which the ball is travelling.
Such is the issue that The Washington Post reported on 30 May 2014 that the First ever summit was to be held on Sports Concussions was to be held in the White House with President Obama stating that the Culture of American Sports needed to shift to cope with danger of concussions suffered in sports.
The summit resulted in new financial commitments by the federal government and the private sector into research into concussions to help train paediatric neurologists specialising in sports concussions and research into how to prevent diagnose and treat the injuries amongst young athletes.
So what should we do and what should we look out for?
Well top scientists suggest that for someone with suspected concussion, you take them off and watch them that night. But what if you are not present at the game? Being observant and talking to player afterwards is key. Ask them if they came into contact with anyone else or headed the ball. Look out for signs of concussion/head injury such as:
- bruising or swelling dizziness
- difficulty speaking, such as slurred speech
- Double vision
- balance problems
- memory loss
- irritability or unusual behaviour
Further information can be found on the NHS website at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/head-injury-minor/pages/introduction.aspx