With more athletes reporting concussions as a factor in the development of long-term neurodegenerative disease and mental health issues, questions have been raised about how pitch-side assessments and protocols need to change to protect players’ welfare.
And it’s not just contact sports like the American National Football League (NFL) and Rugby where these concerns are being addressed: Dr Moiz Moghal, Elite’s Consultant in Sports and Exercise Medicine, is helping to make cricket safer by updating how concussion is dealt with on the field.
Dr Moghal explains:
“Concussion is an evolving area of medical science. We’re learning more and more about it all the time, and still don’t fully understand the consequences in terms of pathophysiology. But the world of professional sports is very aware of the need to take this issue seriously and for athletes not to return to their sport too soon.”
Dr Moghal says: “I’m currently updating the concussion guidance for all levels of professional cricket in the UK, based on the statement that’s just been released, to make sure that concussions in cricket are diagnosed and managed appropriately.”
Unlike professional games where a team of doctors, physios and medics are on call to diagnose and treat players, there is often no medical support for sports played at grassroots level.
However, the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) published guidelines in April 2023 on how concussions should be managed in recreational sports, with the memorable line“if in doubt, sit them out”.
The DCMS guidelines provide a clear framework for sports clubs to follow, setting out what to do and whose responsibility it is to manage a suspected concussion.
Dr Moghal explains what to do: “There are two simple paths to follow: either you seek medical help to diagnose concussion, or you have a minimum of 21 days away from sport to rest and recover, with a minimum of 14 days symptom-free before you return to playing.”
“If you think you’ve had a concussion, seeking a specialist diagnosis and medical supervision could be the fastest route for you to return to your sport safely.”
Elite Physical Medicine provides a concussion service for athletes at every level.