Management of concussion in a community setting

Concussion is now a widely researched and reported on topic within collision sports. The long term effects of concussion are becoming clearer but most of the commentary around the effects are focused on their impact on professional sports and professional sports people.

Collision sports at amateur level

However, the vast majority of people playing collision sports are amateur, playing in local parks and pitches, officiated by amateur referees, coached by volunteer coaches and mostly without specialist healthcare professionals on the sideline.

So how do we manage concussion at this level, to make sure our amateur athletes are protected from the short and long-term effects of concussion. Well, the first step knowing what a concussion is and when to trigger an evaluation or removal from play.

Triggering concussion evaluation

At all playing levels of all collision sports, a concussion evaluation is triggered when an athlete is identified as having experienced a forceful impact directly or indirectly transmitted to the head that was associated with:

– Symptom(s) reported by the athlete
– Visible signs
– Any clinical suspicion by medical staff

Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT 5)

In the absence of medical staff being present, match officials, coaches and mentors should be familiar with the Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT 5). This tool, developed by the Concussion in Sport expert group, is an easy pocket guide to allow non-medical personnel to identify concussion in children, adolescents and adults. It follows 5 steps to allow you identify a concussion and inform your decision to remove a player from the field of play.

Concussion Recognition Tool

PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne recommendation

Using this tool in a community setting, we are better off having a high index of suspicion. If you suspect a concussion in any way, in order to err on the side of caution, the player should be removed from the field of play, and not be allowed return to contact sport for a minimum of 7 days or after clearance from a suitably trained medical professional.

If you are suffering from persistent symptoms of a concussion or are struggling to return to function, contact one of our specialist physios at PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne to book a vestibular rehabilitation appointment.


PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath

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