MP Chris Bryant, along with other MPs, is calling for a parliamentary investigation into the relation between sports and concussion.
The MP says that the UK sporting community is ‘turning a blind eye’ to the problems relating to head injuries in sports. As a result of his concerns, a cross-party report named ‘Concussion Can Kill’ has been written. The report, which has been sparked by a number of different high profile concussion cases in the media, including the death of Ben Robinson following a rugby match in 2011, outlines the need for more action and less debate regarding the matter of concussion in sports.
The report also states that sporting communities like rugby and football need to act on concussion better and that many of the protocols which are in place are unsubstantial and confusing.
The Concussion Can Kill Charter
A charter highlights five key areas that MPs involved in the campaign, feel should be highlighted:
- Firstly, the charter identifies the need for a full parliamentary inquiry into concussion in sports. The group feels that this will allow all ‘stakeholders’ to come together and bring together all the required expertise and evidence needed
- It also states the need for a straightforward procedure that deals with concussion and emphasises how difficult some of the jargon can be to understand and decipher in existing concussion procedures. It says that there is a need to be more consistent across all sports in terms of how to treat concussion, stating that at the moment there are too many differing protocols in different sports and there is room to have a comprehensive set of concussion rules. The report states that it is particularly concerned about rugby union’s Pitchside Suspected Concussion Assessment (PSCA). It says it believes that this assessment, which requires players ‘suspected of concussion’ to undertake a five-minute assessment, is insubstantial
- The report also highlights the need for peer reviewed research into concussion and its link with British Sport and the disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). It says that concussion is not just about the immediate after effects of a head injury but also long-term consequences. The report uses an example of a study which should have been undertaken by the FA in association with the Professional Footballers’ Association to investigate the link between heading a football and brain damage; so far no such report has been published. The report also states that it wants to rid the pattern of head injuries going unreported, either because of a lack of willingness by players to admit they have suffered from concussion or a genuine lack of knowledge that they have suffered from concussion. It also suggests that more investigations could be undertaken during post-mortems of ex-athletes who have suffered from dementia
- A focus on sports in schools, colleges and the NHS is also cited as another important area in the charter. It says that these bodies should join together more and help with sports clubs that do not fall into the category of an ‘elite’ club. It proposes first aid training for small clubs alongside involvement from the NHS and schools. It also recommends more information is given to parents so they know if their child Concussion Can Kill Campaign Calls For Parliamentary Inquiryis being treated properly for concussion if they are taken to hospital
- It also wants to highlight the message that ‘concussion can kill’ via a public awareness campaign that aims to cancel out any misconceptions about concussion
Aim Of The Campaign
Other MPs who have written the report go across parties and include Lord Addlington; Baroness Grey-Thompson; and Chris Heaton-Harris. The report states it doesn’t wish to undermine sport but most importantly, seeks to protect the welfare of the participants in it from long-term brain damage.
MP Chris Bryant says his plans for the charter are to get things started in terms of concussion in sport. He said: “We don’t want to wrap children in cotton wool and each of us are passionate supporters of sport and the positive role it has to play in the lives of young people; however, parents, schools and sporting bodies need to recognise when concussion occurs and how to ensure that children are protected.”
Heading In Football
Recent legal action in America has also highlighted the issue of concussion and its links with heading in football. Parents are taking legal action against FIFA who they say has not protected young players from the risks of concussion. The group of parents says FIFA has acted negligently but that they don’t want financial compensation but new rules for the game. The group says there is research to prove that heading in football damages neck muscles which haven’t been properly developed in young people. They also want people who are suspected of having had a concussion injury to be more closely monitored.
Making A Brain Injury Claim
If you would like to know how to start a brain injury claim please call our no win no fee solicitors on our national accident helpline or complete one of our online claim forms.
Published on 11th February 2015.