Football Association of Ireland: Summary Concussion Guidelines
- Concussion can be defined as a brain injury that arises from trauma to the head, neck or through an impulsive force to the head from elsewhere in the body.
- Concussion results in a disturbance of brain function and should be treated as a serious and significant injury with potentially fatal consequences.
- ANY PLAYER WITH A CONCUSSION OR A SUSPECTED CONCUSSION SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE FIELD OF PLAY IMMEDIATELY AND SAFELY AND SHOULD NOT RETURN TO PLAY, TRAINING OR OTHER PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ON THE SAME DAY
- A player does not need to lose consciousness to be concussed
- The onset of symptoms can occur over minutes but can be delayed for hours
- The common symptoms of concussion include headache, dizziness, memory loss, disturbance of balance
- All coaches, parents, referees should familiarise themselves with the pocket concussion recognition tool to assist in identifying concussion.
- All doctors, physiotherapists and paramedics should familiarise themselves with the pocket concussion recognition tool and with SCAT 5 and Child- Scat 5 to assist in identifying concussions
- Most concussions (80-90%) resolve over a 7-10 day period but may persist for considerably longer
- It is very important to note that the symptoms of concussion in children and adolescents can be prolonged and can in certain circumstances last for weeks or months.
- Concussed players should not be left alone
- Concussed players should not drive, should not take alcohol and should be escorted home
- Players who suffer a concussion should consult with their medical practitioner before returning to play.
- The successful management of concussion is best achieved through physical and mental rest.
- Medical clearance is necessary in all players who suffer a concussion before they can return to play.
- There should be a graded return to training activity.
- Children and adolescents should not return to any activity until they have made a successful return to school/college.
- Return to play guidelines follows a stepwise approach outlined below.
- No activity – symptom limited physical and cognitive rest. Recovery is the objective.
- Light aerobic activity – walking, swimming, stationary bike. Increase in heart rate is the objective.
- Sport specific exercise – running drills. The objective is to add movements.
- Non-contact drills – passing drills. The objective is to exercise, add coordination and cognitive load.
- Full contact practice – This should be medically cleared. The objective is to restore confidence and assess functional skills by coaching staff.
- Return to play.
Dr Alan Byrne
Football Association of Ireland