Concussion in Sport
Posted on 2nd February 2020 at 10:43
Death of Famous Footballer Highlights Traumatic Head Injury in Sport
The current hot topic in sports first aid at the moment is concussion. Concussion used to be considered a minor injury that was not taken seriously and was just an accepted part of playing a contact sport such as rugby or football. Modern research now shows that repeated blows to the head without the appropriate time to recover can cause conditions such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy(CTE), Dementia, Alzheimers Disease and most recently Motor Neurone Disease.
Our understanding of the human brain is very limited, unlike other organs in the body where the anatomy and physiology is understood due to the Victorians study of the human body. The study of the brain has not been possible until advances in medicine such as CT scans, MRI scans and EEG traces.
CTE is believed to be caused when Tau proteins are released within the brain following a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Traumatic Brain Injuries occur in people exposed to varying severity of injury from repetitive mild TBI (eg after a career in football, rugby or boxing) , to single moderate or severe TBI (such as after an assault or car accident).
Modern sports follow strict concussion guidelines with players completing a graduated return to play following a concussion or suspected concussion to help prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries like concussion leading to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
Further research into Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is being done by many medical experts including those at The Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group more information can be found at
The recent diagnosis of Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrows with Motor Neurone Disese (MND) has shocked the rugby league world. Motor Neurone Disease is a life-limiting, rapidly-progressing neurological disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. MND attacks the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work. In a recent interview with the BBC Rob spoke about how he has been in regular contact with the Scottish rugby union player Dodie Weir, also diagnosed with MND. Rob spoke about the research needed into why players like himself an Dodie are diagnosed with MND at a much younger age than most patients are diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70.
Want to know more?
We would urge anyone involved in contact sports to learn more about Traumatic Brain Injuries such as concussion and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. There is a fantastic Audible series The Beautiful Brain by Hana Walker-Brown which is an excellent source of more information about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. This series includes interviews with forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu made famous in the film Concussion starring Will Smith, Dr Bennet Omalu was instrumental in the discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy after the post mortem of former NRL American Footballer Mike Webster and another famous footballer Geoff Astle who also died of dementia as a result of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The Beautiful Brain is currently available to listen for free from
Worth a a watch is a series on Netflix called Killer Inside:The Mind of Aaron Hermandez an NFL player who despite being a young talented athlete committed several murders and eventually committed suicide. His life changed as a result of suffering from CTE.
Lessons 4 Life director Allison Middlemas teaches candidates how to identify and treat concussion as part her role as medical tutor for The Football Association, The Rugby Football League and The Rugby Union. Allison is the only tutor in Yorkshire qualified to teach for these sports organisations. Allison is now piloting a concussion project designed to help coaches, parents and players understand concussion better and make the Graduated Return to Play simple to follow.
Lessons 4 Life teaches candidates on our First Aid for Sports courses how to identify and treat concussion. These courses are also recognised by the RFL as being suitable for pitch side first aiders. We also teach concussion awareness sessions for sports clubs.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more enquiries or to book onto a First Aid for Sports or Concussion Awareness course.
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