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Ministerial media release: New concussion guidelines focus on kids

August 2017

The recognition and management of sports concussion is set to improve for thousands of NSW junior athletes, with the unveiling of a new State Government funded initiative today.

Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres has announced a $78,350 grant for Sports Medicine Australia to fund the updating of new state concussion guidelines and a series of ‘Protect What Matters’ awareness workshops, with a focus on junior sporting clubs.

“You don’t have to be knocked out to suffer a sports concussion, we need to educate parents, players, coaches and sports officials about recognising the symptoms, particularly when it comes to vulnerable junior athletes,“ Mr Ayres said.

“It’s troubling that research suggests sports concussions are more common in children aged under twelve than any other age group, even more disturbing is that fewer than 20% of concussed children are diagnosed or receive medical treatment. We need to do better for the health of thousands of girls and boys playing grass roots sport across the state.”

The Office of Sport and Sports Medicine Australia will work with Chief Medical Officers from organisations including the ARU, AFL, NRL and AIS to update concussion protocols and oversee the rollout of an extensive education program from early 2018.

More than 35 workshops will be held across New South Wales to educate parents, players, coaches, and sports club officials about recognising signs of concussion, the latest guidelines on the removal from play and best practice treatment recommendations.

“We need to change the ‘she’ll be right mate, I’ll just play on’ attitude that many fall into. Sports concussion is a serious health issue and updating the guidelines and staging these workshops will help trigger a statewide ‘culture shift’,” Mr Ayres said.

Sports Medicine Australia Chairman, Dr Andrew Jowett said a second tier of workshops would educate medical personnel from sporting clubs and associations about the latest research in a first-of-its-kind program.

“The management of sport related concussion in children requires special paradigms suitable for the developing child. We are likely to see a slight shift in the management of concussion, in that rather than limiting all activity before being cleared to play sport, the early introduction of symptom-limited physical activity can aid recovery,” Dr Jowett said.

For more information on sports concussion you can visit sma.org.au.

Media: Vanessa Grimm I Minister Ayres I 0419 744 236