Concussion is emerging as a major health issue affecting the lives of many people in the community. The real concern for the community is the long-term effect of concussions and the links to increased risk of mild cognitive and neurological impairments, dementia and movement disorders which have a huge social and economic impact on the community.
Thankfully the awareness of the significance of concussion continues to grow. While there is a more conservative approach to the treatment of concussions there is a lack of consistency and uncertainty in terms of the protocol for recognising and managing the injury and policies on when the time is right to return to play/competition following a concussion, particularly at the community sporting level.
While the focus is on sporting activities, concussion is an issue for the wider community; concussions occur everywhere – the workplace, at school or at home. A person injured during a sporting event or in a car accident is very likely to return to work, school or sport with the after effects of head trauma which may impact on their abilities to perform all tasks.
Currently the research is limited, but emerging evidence suggests that women suffer symptoms of concussion for longer periods than men. However, reasons for this are unknown and research is required to understand gender differences in response to concussion.
With adolescents, while it is known that children and adolescents take longer to recover from a concussion, (with return to play guidelines developed specifically for children and adolescents that focus on longer recovery times), new research is finding that children who play contact sports at an earlier age (under 12) are at risk of long-term neurological impairment, the research showing changes in brain structure that can affect neurological functions. Further research is required to understand why this happens, but we can no longer assume that ‘plastic’ changes in the young developing brain will overcome any concussive injury it receives.
Awareness of the significance of concussion continues to grow. While there is a more conservative approach to the treatment of concussions there is a lack of consistency and uncertainty in terms of the protocol for recognising and managing the injury and policies on when, following a concussion, the time is right to:
This is an important issue for all the community, highlighted by the lack of research and understanding of the impact of head trauma on women and adolescence.
Community and Keynote Speaker
Dr Alan Pearce has presented at conferences around the world and is a recognised keynote speaker. Combining his scientific knowledge with his experience in elite sport and working with business, Alan is a captivating speaker suitable for various audiences including business, community and sporting groups.