BBK Manifesto: Expand concussion in sport guidelines to prevent injuries | Bolt Burdon Kemp BBK Manifesto: Expand concussion in sport guidelines to prevent injuries | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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BBK Manifesto: Expand concussion in sport guidelines to prevent injuries

National guidelines on concussion in grassroots sports should be expanded to focus on preventing injuries rather than simply managing them after they happen, BBK says.

Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to concussions, and their recovery may take longer compared to adults. Evidence suggests children, and in particular teenagers, are more likely to suffer a concussion than adults, and younger children are at increased risk of concussion because their heads are disproportionately larger compared to the rest of their bodies.

Concussion in children’s sports is a serious issue. The first UK-wide Concussion Guidelines for Grassroots Sports was published in April 2023 and seeks to help players, coaches, parents, schools, national governing bodies and sports administrators identify, manage and address the issue.

The guidance focuses on what should be done if any person is suspected of having a concussion while playing sport, with the emphasis on “if in doubt, sit them out” meaning anyone with a suspected concussion should be removed from play immediately.

While the guidance provides essential advice to parents, coaches and players, outlining the crucial steps to follow when dealing with concussions, it is important to acknowledge its limitations.

Primarily it focusses on post-concussion management rather than prevention. Avoiding concussions altogether is a complex issue that requires broader strategies beyond the scope of the guidance.

But children and teenagers are at risk of long-term problems if they suffer a concussion because their brains are still developing, and important neural connections are still being made. Additionally, children and young people are more susceptible to dangerous complications, especially if they have a second impact before fully recovering from the first.

The current guidance should be expanded to include prevention guidelines. We also believe the Government should commission a consultation into first aid and concussion management in grassroots sporting clubs.

This blog is part of our #ChampioningChange Campaign, specifically, Bolt Burdon Kemp LLP’s 2024 Manifesto for Injured People. In this campaign we call for politicians and candidates to prioritise injured people as they go into the 2024 General Election. This work is informed by our clients’ experiences and our partnerships with charities which support our clients and others like them. If you would like to read more about our full manifesto you can do so here.


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