UK Medical and Sporting Organisations Call for Best Practice Consensus on Concussion
The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) UK has hosted a meeting to discuss the need for consensus in the prevention, assessment and management of concussion in the UK. Concussion is common and can have major implications on quality of life if not recognised early.
Key influencers and brain injury experts attended the meeting, including representatives from the Medical Royal Colleges and National Governing Bodies of sport.
The overwhelming view of delegates present at the meeting was a common desire to progress the development of consensus as to how sport, health and education bodies in the UK can deliver best practice.
Delegates recognised the work currently being done by multiple governments and key agencies in this area, but felt that greater formal collaboration between the Medical Royal Colleges would facilitate the process.
The following work streams were identified as priority areas:
- An updated consensus statement on the prevention, assessment and management of concussion in the United Kingdom
- The development and dissemination of generic concussion guidance for sports and the education sector, in collaboration with groups and agencies currently working in this area
- The development of dissemination of appropriate guidance and educational resources for the primary care physician and NHS Emergency Department practitioners
- Input into the planning of care pathways for concussion and mild traumatic brain injury
- Consideration of a Cochrane review
The group would like to see consistent best practice, recognition, management guidelines and care pathways adopted from ground level up, across all sectors and by all health and allied professional groups, where concussion is encountered. They also recognised the need for a NICE guideline specifically on concussion.
Dr Roderick Jaques, President of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, comments: “Concussion is recognised to be one of the most challenging of injuries to diagnose assess and manage. Care pathways from concussion to return to play, school, work and every day life are not always easily accessible or understood in the UK.
“I am pleased to say that a broad consensus was established between all the participants of the meeting on the key issues of a medically complex area and we are in a position to take forward the development of a much needed consensus on the management of concussion.”
Dr Simon Kemp, Hon. Secretary of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine and Chief Medical Officer for the RFU, comments: “Individual sporting bodies recognise the work that they need to do on concussion, however we need to move towards a cross-sports consensus on the recognition and management of concussion with consistency across all sporting bodies and in conjunction with education and healthcare systems.”
Dr Christine Haseler, representing the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), comments: “The RCGP is interested in developing a consensus on the recognition and management of concussion with the group. Out of which, we would like to see a concussion education resource for GPs, which can be applied to the general public as well as those participating in sport.”
Dr Clifford Mann, President of the College of Emergency Medicine (CEM), comments: “One emergency department alone can see upwards of a dozen cases of concussion a week, most of whom are adolescents. There currently exists a large number of differing guidelines out there. Common guidelines, which can be applied across both healthcare and education sectors, are much needed. I am pleased to see that there is already consensus on the need for common guidelines from the meeting attendees and, as this gains momentum, we hope that other key organisations will sign-up.”
Dr Anna-Louise Mackinnon, Jockeys Medical Adviser to the Professional Jockeys Association and Injured Jockeys Fund, comments: “In racing we see more episodes of concussion than in most other sports and we would welcome generic concussion guidelines for UK sport to be used alongside the current British Horseracing Authority Concussion Management Protocol. Consistent advice across all sports, both recreational and professional, is vital to the optimal management of concussion. The development of educational resources available to all those working at the grass roots level will be of great benefit.”
Dr Ian Beasley, Chair of the FA’s Medical Committee and Doctor to the England Men’s Senior Football Team, comments: "The advice of medical professionals is key when it comes to the recognition and management of concussion. Whilst sporting bodies have developed processes to deal with many types of injury, including concussion, this is an area that is in need of a set of common guidelines which can be applied across a broad range of sports. All managers, leaders, teachers, players and clubs need to understand the risks associated with head injuries and be equipped with the correct knowledge.”
Representatives from the following organisations attended the meeting:
The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK
The Royal College of General Practitioners
The Royal College of Physicians of London
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
National Institute for Health Research Brain Injury Healthcare Technology Co-operative
John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford
Royal College of Surgeons of England
The College of Emergency Medicine
The Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care
Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre
Football Association (FA)
The Rugby Football Union (RFU)
St Helen’s Rugby League and Rugby League World Cup
Professional Jockeys Association
England and GB Hockey
The Lawn Tennis Association
The Faculty’s work on concussion and the need for a consensus is also fully supported by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Notes to Editors:
- The meeting took place at BMA House, London on the 4th June 2014
- The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (UK) was launched in 2006 and is an intercollegiate faculty of the Royal College of Physicians of London and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
- The Faculty represents the emerging specialty of Sport and Exercise Medicine and has over 550 Members and Fellows, not including medical students
- There are 83 Sport and Exercise Medicine Doctors on the GMC specialist register
- The FSEM not only sets standards in SEM but oversees research, training, curriculum and assessment of SEM Doctors, including providing revalidation services
- Sport and Exercise Medicine involves the medical care of injury and illness in sport, exercise and the work place. It requires accurate diagnoses, careful clinical examination, experience and knowledge of sport and exercise specific movement patterns. SEM practitioners work in a variety of settings across primary, secondary and tertiary care. The specialty has a large scale application in improving the health of the general public through exercise advice and prescription. Further information about the specialty can be found in the Media & Resources section at www.fsem.co.uk
For further information contact Beth Cameron, PR & Communications for the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 0131 527 3498, Mobile: 07551903702