As the UK’s leading concussion in sport charity, Love of the Game (LOTG) is celebrating today as the government announces new internationally recognised guidelines to reduce the risks from concussions in grassroots sport.
Spearheaded by Love of the Game Chairman, Laurence Geller CBE, the government’s Independent Ministerial Adviser on Concussion in Sport, the guidelines have been developed over many months by leading domestic and international academics, medical professionals, scientists, sportspeople, and organizations, including Love of the Game.
A world first, the “If in doubt, sit them out” guidelines are designed to provide a framework recognising concussion and on how it should be managed from the time of injury through to a safe return to education, work and playing sport. The guidelines are intended for individuals participating in all grassroots sports – primary school age and upwards – while maintaining the integrity of all our much-loved sports.
The guidelines have been commended by an array of sports governing bodies, including NHS 111, The Football Association, Premier League, and Rugby Football Union.
The guidelines aim to protect in sports and outline the best practice for those individuals who are affected. It includes assessment of any suspected concussion by an onsite Healthcare Professional or a call to NHS 111 within 24 hours of the injury and a 24-hour break from competition and training following a suspected concussion before gradual return to sport.
Alongside the guidelines for sports organisations, the DCMS concussion in sport committees have also produced guidance for healthcare professionals and a multidisciplinary management plan to allow those affected players to return safely to their fields.
The Guidelines Committee has been supported by a series of other committees, including one on Technology and Innovation, led by Laurence Geller. This committee has been investigating how cutting-edge R&D developments can support prevention and protection.
Alongside its contribution to the development of the guidelines, Love of the Game is trialling technologies that both “protect the player and protect the sport”, including the WAVi portable brain scanner (currently in a Love of the Game-facilitated trial with Cornish Pirates, Sevenoaks, and East London Rugby Football Clubs) and the PolarCool brain cooling cap, currently in trial with London Irish RFC.
Love of the Game is supported by several high-profile former athletes, including former England international Simon Shaw (co-founder) and Wales international Peter Rogers.
Speaking on the guidelines, Laurence Geller CBE, the government’s Independent Ministerial Adviser on Concussion, said:
“Today marks an important step forward for all sport, and all players, across the country. These new guidelines have been developed by leading minds from across the scientific, sporting, and academic spaces and will ensure that all parties, from school sports coaches to NHS specialist clinicians, are unified in common understanding and practice on concussion. This will ensure players at all levels are safeguarded, and able to continue to participate in the sports they love.”
Simon Shaw, former England international Rugby Player and co-founder of Love of the Game, commented:
“As a former professional sportsperson, I have seen first hand the damage that head injuries can cause. I welcome these new guidelines, which, alongside the new technologies we are trialling through Love of the Game, will keep players safe across the country. The ‘if in doubt, sit them out’ principle coupled with very clear return to play guidelines, allow us to protect both our players and the sports we love.”
You can download the full Guidelines document here: