Monday 27 March 2017

200 young rugby players to take part in major concussion study

The post-concussion test results will be measured against pre-season results and the results will be provided to the player, his parents and his GP. Photo: PA
The post-concussion test results will be measured against pre-season results and the results will be provided to the player, his parents and his GP. Photo: PA

Ciara Treacy

A RESEARCH programme involving 200 schoolboy rugby players has been launched to improve understanding and treatment of concussion in the sport.

The Sports Surgery Clinic yesterday launched a €700,000 pilot study to assess the effects of rehabilitation post concussion in adolescent rugby players.

It is in partnership with five Dublin schools – Blackrock College, St Michael’s College, St Andrew’s College, Gonzaga College and St Mary’s College.

The programme will screen 200 young rugby players for symptoms of concussion in the pre-season 2016/2017 using a series of computerised, exercise and physiological tests.

According to Dr Andy Franklyn-Miller, Director of Rehabilitation and Research at the Sports Surgery Clinic, it is important to remember that children are sustaining concussion in all sorts of sports.

“Improving the care of these athletes after a concussion is our immediate priority,” he said.

“We hope to learn which of these screening tests are most sensitive to improve the rehabilitation pathway.

“Memory, recall, thinking and understanding are not only vital to a student’s return to play but also of paramount importance to his or her ‘return to learn’ and this forms a large part of the study.”

During the rugby season, any player involved in a concussive event will receive immediate access to treatment, monitoring of symptoms and rehabilitation under the care of sports medicine physicians.

The post-concussion test results will be measured against pre-season results and the results will be provided to the player, his parents and his GP.

Data will be used to develop a Concussion Passport that can be used to track school boys and girls through their careers.

A number of high-profile incidents involving players like Johnny Sexton and George North have led to concerns about the long-term effects of concussion for rugby players and other athletes.

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