Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

The Head Coach

By Tim Hannan

New guidelines aim to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment from concussion in sport.

Tim Hannan is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Charles Sturt University, and the President of the Australian Psychological Society.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Concussion is a common occurrence in contact sports, with both the AFL and NRL calculating that about six players from every elite club suffer a concussion each season. Estimates for lower competitions have produced similar or slightly lower frequencies.

New international guidelines on the management of concussion in sport aim to reduce the risk of short- and long-term cognitive impairment by advocating “best practice” guidelines on the identification and management of concussive symptoms. Published last March, the Consensus Statement of the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport will also focus the attention of researchers on key unanswered questions in the field.

Concussion is a disruption of brain function that results from a blow to the head, either through a direct strike or the indirect effect of impact elsewhere on the body being transmitted to the head. It is a mild form of traumatic brain injury in which the observed symptoms are presumed to largely result from a disturbance of brain function rather than as a result of structural damage.

The symptoms of concussion include headache, dizziness, blurred vision and nausea, along with cognitive difficulties such as confusion, disorientation and amnesia for events occurring in a period preceding the injury. These features are usually immediately apparent, but in some cases they may...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.