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The British American Football Association has backed new concussion guidelines for grassroots sport as released by The Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA) on Friday. 

These guidelines have been developed by a drafting group of leading UK and international experts in the field of sport-related concussion who used the latest and most robust scientific and medical evidence available to formulate the protocol.

They are the first ever UK-wide concussion guidance published to help people identify, manage and prevent concussion affecting players in grassroots sport with the defining call-to-action being ‘If in doubt, sit them out’.  They are designed to:

  • RECOGNISE the signs of concussion;
  • REMOVE anyone suspected of being concussed immediately and;
  • RETURN safely to daily activity, education/work and, ultimately, sport.

The information is designed to support players, coaches, parents, schools and National Governing Bodies and sports administrators and has been developed by clinicians, academics and sports governing bodies, forms part of Government’s Action Plan on Concussion designed for all grassroots sport.

The guidelines include a recommendation to call NHS 111 within 24 hours of a potential concussion, to rest and sleep as much as needed for the first 24 to 48 hours and avoid using devices which involve screen time.

In addition, a graduated return to activity such as work, education and sport is advised to reduce the risks of slow recovery, further brain injury and longer-term problems. Individuals should be assessed by an appropriate healthcare professional if symptoms persist for more than four weeks.

Development of the guidelines has been led by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Professor James Calder, chair of the expert drafting group, and Laurence Geller, the Government’s Adviser on Concussion in Sport.

Professor James Calder, Chair of the UK Concussion Guidelines Expert Drafting Group, said:“Participation in sport and exercise is crucial for the nation’s mental and physical health and, with appropriate management, the vast majority of those who sustain a concussion during sport should make a full recovery.”