Can you identify the indicators of a concussion?

The past month has seen widespread talk about the management of concussion and head trauma in the Australian sporting landscape, particularly regarding kids in sport. To ensure the upmost well-being of our BMX athletes, BMX Australia officially released a Concussion Policy earlier this year.

The question is though – Are you aware of how serious concussions are? Are you confidently able to identify the signs of concussion?

According to Dr Ryan Kohler from the ARU, concussion is type of brain injury caused by a blow to the head that triggers short term impairment of neurological function. With a higher probability than most sports of having athletes suffer a concussion, knowing the indicators for a possible concussion is a crucial part of making sure we look out for our riders.

Physiotherapist Brenton McDonald who works with Triathlon Australia recently made note in an online article that a common misconception in sport is that an individual has to be knocked out to have a ‘concussion’, when in fact they do not. Your child, friend, club members or even you could have suffered a concussion before without even knowing it.

It is extremely important that BMX spectators, club officials and riders alike are able to identify the symptoms of a possible concussion properly to ensure that our athletes, especially our younger BMX community, are safely removed from the track immediately to avoid further injury/ endangering those around them.

BMX Australia’s Concussion Policy outlines that the immediate visual indicators of someone suffering from concussion include;

(a)  Loss of consciousness or responsiveness;

(b)  Lying motionless on the ground/slow to get up;

(c)  A dazed, blank or vacant expression;

(d)  Appearing unsteady on feet, balance problems or falling over;

(e)  Grabbing or clutching of the head

(f)  Impact seizure or convulsion

Furthermore, on-going symptoms of concussion can include;

(a)  Symptoms: Headache, dizziness, “feeling in a fog”.

(b)  Behavioural changes: Inappropriate emotions, irritability, feeling nervous or anxious.

(c)  Cognitive impairment: Slowed reaction times, confusion/disorientation- not aware of location or score, poor attention and concentration, loss of memory for events up to and/or after the concussion.

The BMX Australia Concussion Policy page includes a ‘Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool’ that can assist you in recognising concussion, it is recommended that you have a copy of this document on hand at all BMX events, and at any sporting event for that matter.

To view more information from the BMX Australia Concussion Policy including treatment for concussion and how to return to riding, click here.