Action for Brain Injury Week 2016 takes place from the 9th to the 15th May. A yearly campaign with a general aim to raise awareness of brain injury and its potential consequences, Action for Brain Injury Week is organised by Headway, the brain injury association, and this year’s focus is on concussion in sports.
Our blog in February detailed the spate of high profile cases in professional sport, and the current shift in culture away from playing on regardless to treating concussion like any other debilitating injury. It also compared professional attitudes with amateur ones, where proper regulations are often not in place and too much depends on personal player discretion.
Headway’s focus for Action for Brain Injury Week 2016 is on raising awareness in amateur and junior sport, so the type of procedures that are being put in place in professional sport can trickle down through all levels. Headway have also created a toolkit called Be Concussion Aware, giving information on the campaign and ways individuals and organisations can get involved.
TLW Solicitors will be at the northeast Headway event at Walkergate Park in Newcastle on the 13th May as part of Action for Brain Injury Week, an opportunity for us to meet attendees and share information on brain injury awareness.
Concussion in sports
The focus on concussion in sports for Action for Brain Injury Week 2016 is not only an important area of personal injury, but a timely one too. It is only recently that sport in general has openly discussed the issue, and a spate of recent high profile cases have shown the importance of dealing with concussion in the correct way.
Perhaps the most high-profile case of concussion in sports occurred with the NFL concussion lawsuit. Thousands of former American Football players have already sued their league, other cases are yet to reach court, and the issue has even been made into a film starring Will Smith (Concussion).
Closer to home is the recent Dylan Hartley concussion. The England Rugby Union captain was knocked out against France during this year’s Six Nations Tournament and has spent weeks on the side-lines. This is the second Dylan Hartley concussion case of the season after a previous injury in November saw him miss two months of rugby.
Other recent head injuries in sport have included England and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier, who suffered a concussion playing against West Bromwich Albion in a recent midweek league fixture and is presently under observation. Boxer Nick Blackwell is thankfully in recovery following a bout with Chris Eubank Jr in March, but has announced his retirement from the sport as a result of his injury.
It remains to be seen what would happen to a junior or amateur-level sportsperson in any of these situations. In many cases it is likely that good protocols for dealing with concussion in sports would be followed, but until such protocols are in place at every level and sports people are aware of them, complications following concussions in sport are highly likely to continue.
The wider issue of concussion
It is important to remember that concussion does not necessarily mean being ‘knocked out’ or left unconscious, and that concussion often happens away from sporting pursuits.
A seemingly-innocuous bash on the head has the potential to cause a concussion, and symptoms may include headaches, changes in thought processes or changes in mood. Whilst it may be difficult for a person to decipher if such symptoms are down to a concussion or not, it is worth seeking the advice of a medical professional if such symptoms follow a bash to the head.
Concussion needs to be managed correctly, as a secondary concussion – sustained before the individual has completely recovered from the first one – may lead to greater problems in future.
TLW have a local heritage, providing specialist legal services to people for over 15 years in the region. With extensive specialist training and an external accreditation from Headway (The Brain Injury Association), we work alongside experienced care and rehabilitation specialists to ensure our clients receive the very best professional advice and are able to access the support they require.