If in doubt, sit them out

According to the Brain Injury Research Institute, brain injuries cause more deaths than any other sports injury. A stunning 10% of all contact sport athletes sustain concussions annually.

There is growing concern in Australia and internationally about the incidence of sport-related concussion and potential health ramifications for athletes. While short-term symptoms are reversible, a single knock to the head can have serious consequences in later life.

Concussion affects athletes at all levels of sport — from the part-time recreational athlete through to the full-time professional. There were almost 3,100 hospitalisations for concussion caused by sports in 2020–21 in Australia.

“There is no such thing as a good concussion, and we need to be concerned about each concussion and manage each concussion seriously,” Dr David Hughes, the Australian Institute of Sport Chief Medical Officer said.

On the positive side, if managed appropriately, most symptoms and signs of concussion resolve spontaneously. However, complications can occur, including prolonged symptoms and increased susceptibility to further injury.

Polocrosse Australia committed to balancing success and member wellbeing

As part of its ongoing commitment to the health and wellbeing of its members, Polocrosse Australia will continue to align its policies with best-practice protocols.

“Among our core values we are committed to balancing the pursuit of success with the wellbeing of our members and our horses at all levels of polocrosse,” Mick Templeton, Polocrosse Australia President said.

“As such we have revised our concussion policy in line with recent updates to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Concussion in Sport Australia Position Statement.

“As part of this update, there is a seven-day extension to the previous 14-day ‘return to sport’ protocol. This means, following a concussion a player must not return to competition before day 21 post concussion and must have remained symptom free for at least 14 days and have clearance from a healthcare practitioner.

“Remember — Polocrosse Australia’s policies and procedures are mandatory for all members and are the foundation of keeping our sport, safe and enjoyable for every horse and every rider.”

Polocrosse Australia encourages all clubs and members to download and familiarise themselves with the current Australian Concussion Guidelines for Youth and Community Sport and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Concussion in Sport Australia Position Statement and ensure any instances of concussion are managed in line with the guidelines and Polocrosse Australia incident reporting protocols.

The Australian Institute of Sport has developed the Australian Concussion Guidelines for Youth and Community Sport to provide clear and consistent guidance on concussion for parents, teachers, coaches, sideline staff and others involved in youth and community sport.

“These guidelines provide information on how to recognise and manage concussion from the time of injury through to a safe return to education, work and playing sport,” Mick said.

“In essence — if in doubt, sit them out.”

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