Monday 11 December 2017

Young athletes 'play on with concussion', experts warn

Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

YOUNG sports players who suffer a concussion regularly play on because they aren't knocked out, experts have warned.

Karen O'Boyle, of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, warned that 90pc of concussions were not a 'knock-out'.

A lot of people think they weren't concussed because they weren't knocked out, she said.

"That is a big myth. A concussion doesn't have to be a knock-out. So often, players are playing on while concussed," she said.

Ms Boyle said that when it comes to concussion, a six-stage 'return to play' rehabilitation plan should be followed.

These are guidelines that people can follow over the course of a week, depending on how their recovery goes, starting from a point of complete rest on day one following a concussion. As part of these guidelines, medical clearance is advised before returning to game practice.

"Every brain is different, so every brain injury will be different, so every rehabilitation plan has to be different," she said.

"We did do some research with the Gaelic Players' Association and the GAA in relation to how many players are getting concussed.

"Some 54pc of those surveyed reported having endured a concussion, and 44pc of those admitted to having sustained two to five concussions," she said.

Ms Boyle said that from ages five to 12, a minimum two-week period of rest is required if children get a concussion.

"We want to increase education in schools. Different sports have their team doctors on the sidelines, but schools and grassroots clubs don't," she added.

However, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said that serious injury remains very rare.

Spokesperson Stephen McNamara told the Irish Independent that the IRFU sympathises with Lucas Neville and his family on his debilitating injury and hopes that the settlement reached yesterday will assist his continued recovery.

Irish Independent

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