Concussion in Gaelic Games - Overview
- Concussion is a brain injury which results in a disturbance of brain function and can be caused by direct or indirect contact to the player’s head or body. It needs to be taken seriously to protect the short and long-term health and welfare of all players.
- There are many symptoms of concussion, common ones being – headache, dizziness, memory disturbance or balance problems. Loss of consciousness occurs in less than 10% of concussions and is not a requirement in diagnosing a concussion.
- It should be noted that the symptoms of concussion can present at any time but typically become evident in the first 24-48 hours following a head injury
- Athletes with a history of two or more concussions within the past year are at greater risk of further brain injury and slower recovery and should seek medical attention from practitioners experienced in concussion management before return to play.
- Concussion is an issue that affects all sports and it is important that everyone involved in Gaelic Games recognises the symptoms of concussion and removes from playing or training any player with clear or suspected symptoms.
- The key message is - Recognise & Remove. Recognise the symptoms of concussion and permanently remove a player displaying any of those symptoms from the game or training session.
- Below you will be able to access a suite of resources, some targeted at medical personnel and others at those without medical training, which should be utilised by everyone involved in Gaelic Games - players, parents/guardians, coaches, administrators, referees and medics to ensure the welfare of all players at all levels of our games.
- Everyone involved at any level of Gaelic Games is encouraged to complete the short educational module available here - https://learning.gaa.ie/lms/mod/scorm/view.php?id=165013
The GAA have worked with UPMC over the past number of years, providing education and training to medical professionals involved in the GAA. They now have appointed number of clinical leads operating in Ireland for specialist treatment for those with prolonged symptoms. A GP/Hospital can refer players by contacting the Network via the details below.
The UPMC Concussion Network is revolutionising how concussion is approached in Ireland through education and the development of pathways to viable, standardised concussion testing and treatment. The UPMC Concussion Network Care Pathway is outlined below:
If the injury occurred during a GAA training or practice match, and the other terms of the GAA Injury Benefit fund are met, costs for such consultations other than related physiotherapy treatment, can be claimed via the Injury Benefit Fund - https://learning.gaa.ie/node/281085
Further information on UPMC Concussion Network Services can be accessed here - https://upmc.ie/services/concussion
UPMC Concussion Network - Complete Concussion Care
Complete Concussion Care by UPMC Network Specialists includes:
• A clinical examination to understand the injury and medical history
• VOMS (vestibular/ocular motor screening) to assess balance, movement, and vision
• Neurocognitive ImPACT® testing to evaluate brain function after the injury
• Neurovestibular exam to evaluate processing speed, memory, and reaction time
• Personalised care plan, tailored rehabilitation plans with our trained physiotherapy teams
This targeted assessment and active treatment approach offers patients a scientific, evidence-based plan for recovery. It also provides safe pathways for a return to learning, work and play.
Concussion Guidelines & Resources for Medically-Trained Personnel
The Sports Concussion Assessment Tool - 6th Edition (SCAT6©) is used to support the clinical diagnosis of a medical practitioner or healthcare professional.
The SCAT6© should not be used as a stand-alone method to diagnose concussion, measure recovery, or make decisions about an athlete’s readiness to return to competition. The SCAT6© is a multi-modal assessment tool designed for use by medical practitioners and healthcare professionals to support their clinical assessment.
The SCAT6© is a standardised method for evaluating injured athletes for concussion and can be used for athletes aged 13 and above. For children aged 5 to 12 years, the Child SCAT6© should be used. The SCAT6© is a standardised tool for evaluating concussions designed for use by Health Care Professionals in the acute phase, ideally within 72 hours (3 days), and up to 7 days, following injury, for athletes aged 13 and above.
For children aged 12 years and younger, please use the Child SCAT6© should be used. If greater than 7 days post-injury, consider using the SCOAT6©/Child SCOAT6©.
Concussion Guidelines & Resources for Non-Medically Trained Personnel
The Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool™ (Pocket CRT), developed by the Concussion Consensus Group, acts as a reminder of the signs and symptoms of concussion. If any of the signs or symptoms listed in the Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool are identified and/or the player fails to answer correctly the five awareness questions in the Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool, then the player MUST be removed from the field of play for a comprehensive medical evaluation.
Fellow players, coaches, match officials, team managers, administrators or parents who observe an injured player displaying any of the signs in the Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool after an injury event with the potential to cause a head injury or concussion MUST do their best to ensure that the player is removed from the field of play in a safe manner.