What is a concussion?
A concussion is a temporary injury to the brain that cannot be seen on routine x-rays or scans. It affects the way a person may think and remember things for a short time, and can cause a variety of symptoms.
What causes a concussion?
Any blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body which causes a sudden jarring of the head may cause a concussion. Recognise the symptoms and signs of concussion: a player does not need to be knocked out (lose consciousness) to have had a concussion.
When can a concussed player return to rugby?
It is very important that the player does not go back to rugby or any other sport, if they have any concussion symptoms or signs. Return to sport and activity must follow a step-wise Graduated Return to Play. They should not go back to rugby/sport until they have been cleared to do so by a doctor.
How long will it take to get better?
The signs and symptoms of a concussion often last for 7-10 days in adults but may last much longer, especially in younger players and children. In some cases, players may take many weeks or months to recover. Suffering previous concussions may increase the chance that the person may take longer to recover.
Remember the 4 R’s:
Recognise the signs and symptoms
Remove the player from play
Recover fully before returning to sport
Return only after following a Graduated Return to Play
What to do if you suspect concussion in a player?
You must remove them from play right away. Continuing to play increases their risk of more severe, longer lasting concussion symptoms, as well as increases their risk of other injury:
- You should not let them return to play that day.
- You should not allow them to be left alone.
- You should make sure they are seen by a health care practitioner as soon as possible that day.
- You should not let them drive.
Take the 20 minute online course (http://www.englandrugbyfiles.com/medical/concussion-awareness) which will explain what concussion is, how it happens and what players, coaches, referees and volunteers can do to help avoid injury or return safely to playing following a concussion.