Specialists from Aspetar’s National Sports Medicine Programme (NSMP) are in the process of rolling out updated “Concussion in Sport” guidelines for clubs, sports organisations, and federations across Qatar.
Amongst the first in the world to do so, the guidelines, which were agreed upon at the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport, held in Zurich in November 2012, feature an array of ground-breaking new findings designed to protect athletes.
At Zurich, Aspetar experts played an active role in the decision-making process together with 32 specialists from around the world. Consequently, after the new guidelines were announced, the rules were implemented across Qatar via the NSMP.
The first-of-its-kind initiative by Aspetar to guarantee international standards for medical care, treatment, and rehabilitation to sports clubs, federations, and athletes, the NSMP is also considered a class leading programme on an international level.
Dr Paul McCrory, one of the editors of the consensus statement of the guidelines visited Aspetar recently to host the first international presentation on the Concussion Guidelines. Described by some as the most significant sports medicine implementation issue of the decade, Dr McCrory discussed the new elements of concussions and their implications for athletes in Qatar, the GCC and internationally.
Concussions are common brain injuries which have the potential to cause long-term neurological damage if not dealt with appropriately. Important amendments to the guidelines include not allowing a player to return-to-play should they have a concussion, or suspected concussion, and the need to be more cautious with children under the age of 15 , as their recuperation time is longer than adults.
During official matches there are physicians that would take the decision regarding a suspected concussion. But it is crucial that other individuals can identify a concussion, should they be required.
Sports Medicine specialists from Aspetar’s NSMP have been educating coaches, trainers, staff members, athletes, and referees and providing them with the specific know-how and resources to recognise the symptoms.
One of the resources that can be used for side-line assessment diagnosis is the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool Version 3, which incorporates the Standardised Assessment of Concussion, and is for physicians specifically. In addition, the Concussion Recognition Tool is currently being developed for the general public, which, once completed, will be disseminated within the community.
The guideline is the fourth revision of recommendations first developed in 2001 in Vienna, in a bid to recognise the importance of concussion and offer some guidance to healthcare professionals on the most important aspect of treating the condition - the timing of return-to-play. The next review will be held in 2015.
The consensus statement was published in February 2013 in the ‘Injury Prevention and Health Protection’ issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, whose editor-in-chief, Dr Karim Khan, is also the director of the Research and Education Centre at Aspetar.
The new guidelines are endorsed by Fifa, International Olympic Commission, and the International Ice Hockey Federation.
Follow us on our social media channels: