The RFUs ‘Headcase’ campaign aims to improve awareness in the recognition, prevention and management of concussion.
To access the RFU ‘Headcase’ webpage is which contains a wealth of info for coaches, players and parents, click HERE, or go to www.rfu.com/headcase.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a temporary injury to the brain that cannot be seen on routine x-rays or scans. It affects the way a person may think and remember things for a short time, and can cause a variety of symptoms.
What causes a concussion?
Any blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body which causes a sudden jarring of the head may cause a concussion.
A PLAYER DOES NOT NEED TO BE KNOCKED OUT (LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS) TO HAVE HAD A CONCUSSION
What are the symptoms and signs of concussion?
Thinking problems they may experience:
•Does not know the time, date, place, period of game, opposing team, or the score in the game
•Cannot remember things that happened before and/or after the injury
•Seems slow to answer questions or follow directions
•Seems easily distracted
•Not playing as well as expected
•A blank state/glassy eyes, "the lights are on but nobody is at home"
Things they may complain of or you may see:
•Feel dazed or stunned
•Loss of vision, seeing double or blurred, seeing stars or flashing lights
•Ringing in the ears
•Stomach ache, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting
•Poor coordination or balance
•Strange or inappropriate emotions (i.e. laughing, crying, getting angry easily)
•Feeling generally unwell
What should you do if you SUSPECT concussion?
YOU should stop them playing right away
Continuing to play increases their risk of more severe, longer lasting concussion symptoms as well as increases their risk of other injury:
•You should tell the referee, your coach, or other responsible person that you are concerned they have had a concussion
•You should not let them return to the field of play that day
•You should not leave them alone
•You should have them seen by a doctor as soon as possible that day.
How is concussion treated?
Concussion symptoms are made worse by exertion, both physical and mental. The most important treatment for concussion is REST.
•They should not exercise or do any activities that may make them worse, like reading, working on the computer or playing video games
•If mental activities (e.g. reading, concentrating or using the computer) worsen their symptoms they may have to stay home from college or school
•If they go back to activities before they are completely better they are more likely to get worse, and to have the symptoms for longer
Once they are RECOVERed, and cleared to do so by a doctor they can start a step-wise increase in activities. If possible they should be seen by a doctor with experience in treating concussions.
Can it be anything more serious?
Anyone who gets a head injury should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible to have a diagnosis made. The doctor will usually give instructions to them to go back to them or go to hospital IMMEDIATELY if they worsen or have symptoms such as:
•Drowsiness when normally awake or cannot be woken
•A headache that is getting worse
•Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination
•Repeated vomiting or prolonged nausea
•Slurred speech, difficulty speaking or understanding
•Increasing confusion, restlessness or agitation
•Loss of conciousness
•Convulsion or fits
•Clear fluid coming from ears or nose
•Deafness in one or both ears
When can a concussed player return to rugby?
It is very important that the child does not go back to rugby or any other sport if they have any concussion symptoms or signs. Return to sport and activity must follow a step-wise Graduated Return to Play. This can be downloaded in full from the RFU website here
THEY SHOULD NOT GO BACK TO SPORT UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN CLEARED TO DO SO BY A DOCTOR
How long will it take to get better?
The signs and symptoms of concussion often last for 7-10 days in adults and may last much longer, especially in young players and children. In some cases, players may take weeks or months to recover. Having had previous concussions may increase the chance that a person may take longer to recover.
Remember the 4 R's
The IRB have produced a video which gives further information.
Click HERE to view.
Please note that the information contained here is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for appropriate medical care or advice. If you believe that you or someone under your care has sustained a concussion we strongly recommend that you contact a qualified health care professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The authors have made responsible efforts to include accurate and timely information. However they make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of the information contained and specifically disclaim any liability in connection with the content on this site.