5 Dec 2014

Concussion injury guidelines for sports

6:11 pm on 5 December 2014

Sports players should be taken out of play immediately anyone suspects they may have concussion, according new Accident Compensation Corporation guidelines.

Jordan Kemp.

Jordan Kemp died from bleeding on the brain in July. Photo: FACEBOOK

The guidelines on how to identify, assess and manage concussion injuries, which sports associations have helped develop, come after a rise in concussions among teenage rugby and rugby league players.

ACC chief clinical advisor Peter Robinson said there are 7500 sports-related concussions in New Zealand every year.

Dr Robinson said the aim of the guidelines was to get all sports, at every level, identifying and treating potential concussions consistently.

New Zealand Rugby Union game development manager Richard Skelly said rugby already had mandatory stand-down periods for players who are concussed.

But Mr Skelly said the guidelines will educate players, coaches and spectators and encourage everyone to take responsibility for spotting potential concussion injuries.

In July, young Northland player Jordan Kemp died from bleeding on the brain after collapsing during a club game in Whangarei.

Doctors were unable to say whether the 17-year-old's death was linked to a concussion that had sidelined him for five weeks earlier in the season.

The New Zealand Rugby Union stood by its concussion guidelines at the time, saying the teenager went through an appropriate return-to-play protocol.

Sports physician and team doctor for the All Whites Mark Fulcher said if anyone had any concerns about a player, they should be taken out of play.

He said many sports already had strict rules about concussion injuries, but the guidelines would help get sports at all levels treating concussions consistently.

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