The Growing Concerns Surrounding Concussion

Over the last few months, major sporting bodies have been placed in the spotlight when it comes to the attention, management and expected protocols around concussions during play. The codes are being urged to do more than ever before to protect players from head knocks.

Medical experts have recently expressed their concerns around the need for more emphasis to be placed on educating players of the long-term effects on concussion. Leading expert Dr Adrian Cohen recently expressed in an interview with the ABC his doubts on how seriously concussion incidents are taken, “If we were talking about a hamstring injury and you said we are going to bring the player back next week, everybody would say you’re crazy. It’s the same for brain, we have to start giving the brain time to recover.”

For codes like the NRL, their Management of Concussion policy states: “A player who has suffered a concussion or potential concussion or exhibits the same symptoms of concussion should not return to play in the same game (or on the same day) even if they appear to have recovered.”

It’s believed the calls for harsher penalties for creating a concussion event in the first place may be the best way to deter players from injuring each other and to protect them as best as possible in each code.

State Bodies such as the New South Wales Rugby League and Queensland Rugby League have taken a stance and updated their concussion protocols for junior, grassroots matches. The changes are aimed at keeping players on the sidelines for longer after they have sustained a head knock.

Key solutions to help solve the current concussion tensions are as follows:

• Give the person a chance to actually recover with a decent timeframe
• Decrease the number of hits during the game
• Don’t allow tackling until an older age bracket

According to the experts, best scientific evidence shows physiological recovery takes about a month after suffering a concussion. As a controversial and very much major topic in Australian Sport at present, there will definitely be more to come as further decisions are made by governing bodies.

Should you have any questions about concussion or a potential concussion either yourself or a family member may have suffered, we recommend contacting your GP immediately. If you have any general questions surrounding this topic, our expert team of physiotherapists will be more than happy to share with you some of their learnings and findings on concussion and this current sporting issue.

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.