Mind Your Head! We all need educating about head injuries

A head injury article for those involved in sport at grassroots level. 

Head injuries (particularly concussion) continue to be a major talking point at all levels of medical care in sport.

But how can we expect head injuries to be taken seriously or fully understood in professional sport, when most people at grassroots don't know the basic considerations?

It seems coaches, parents, players, managers (and some first aiders!) think head injuries are an area that only medical professionals need to worry about.

But a small amount of basic knowledge and understanding can help us all deal with head injuries.

From a first aid perspective, think about which of the following you would be able to assess and manage:

1. Concussion or a serious head injury

Would you be able to assess for signs of concussion?

Could you assess for signs of other types of head injury like a fractured skull or compression?

Would you know when to remove the player and when to let them carry on?

2. Unconscious casualty

If the casualty collapsed and became unconscious, how would you manage them?

Should you move the casualty?

When would you consider calling 999?

3. Open wound

If the player has an open wound, could you control the bleeding?

Should the player carry on?

Are you prepared for the potential risk of infection to both you and the player?

If player welfare really is the number one priority, coaches, players, officials, parents and players should all be able to answer the above questions as a minimum.

Just this week, Newport County manager Mike Flynn questioned the reasoning behind an enforced extended period of rest for Antoine Semenyo following a concussion against Oxford United. As Semenyo is under 19, the F.A's rules dictate an additional 6 days' recovery. Rather than publicly suggest this is unnecessary and potentially undermine the ruling, it would be more helpful for Flynn to find out why this is the case.

Increased awareness and understanding of head injuries at grassroots football would only serve to help medical professionals and player welfare at all levels.

Click here for further information about Lubas Medical First Aid for Sport & Exercise (FASE) courses.

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