Scotland has become one of the first countries to have developed a single concussion policy for all sports, following collaboration between medics, sportscotland, national governing bodies and the Scottish government.
The aim of the guidelines is to provide clear, simple guidance to coaches, officials, parents, teachers and athletes to ensure that concussion can be recognised quickly and managed effectively from the initial injury to a phased return to play.
They also aim to engage those working in accident and emergency and general practice to ensure a consistent message on concussion advice right across Scotland.
Launched at Oriam, Scotland’s national performance centre, the new guidelines also reflect updates to the global sports concussion guidance, following a meeting of experts in Berlin, Germany last year.
While previous guidelines have advised rest as the main treatment for concussion, the advice now is that, like any other injury, the brain needs to rehabilitate – rather than rest.
A concussed brain should be challenged in controlled increases in function to rehabilitate it back to a normal life as the first priority, and then again in physical activity to get back to sport.
As young developing brains need slower rehabilitation, the guidance sets different minimum times for return to sport for adults, adolescents and children.
Scotland’s deputy chief medical officer, Dr Gregor Smith, said: “These updated guidelines build on Scotland’s approach of creating one consistent, evidence-based policy towards concussion across all sports.
“They draw on recent international advances in the understanding of concussion and, in particular, of how to better rehabilitate people.”
To learn more and download the guidelines in PDF format, https://sportscotland.org.uk/clubs/scottish-sports-concussion-guidance/