Schools and Colleges
Those involved in school or college sport have a very important role in the prevention and management of concussion as they are in a unique position:
- They have a statutory duty of care to their students
- They have regular, sometimes daily, contact with their players
- The setting allows and supports opportunities for wider education around rugby and other sports
- Teachers and lecturers are key influencers of their students' attitudes and behaviour
- This setting should allow for the detection of missed concussions, including those occurring outside of the establishment, through the impact on educational activities
- The setting allows for monitoring of concussed players’ recovery
- Some have employed or contracted health care professionals on site
Concussions can occur in many situations in the school environment; any time that a student’s head comes into contact with a hard object such as the floor or a desk, or another student’s body. The potential is probably greatest during activities where collisions can occur such as in the playground, during sport and PE, and if messing around indoors during breaks. The nature of rugby means that concussion can occur in training and in matches.
Students may also get concussion when playing rugby or other activities out of school but come to school with the symptoms and signs. It is important that these situations are recognised, as the concussion can affect their academic performance and/or behaviour, as well as putting them at risk of more serious consequences if they sustain another concussion before recovery.
What is of some concern is that our research suggests boys playing rugby at school or their club frequently do not admit to being concussed. In our study of 16-18 year olds, although 66% felt a concussion was a serious injury, only 44% were aware that there were the IRB Regulations requiring them to stand down from playing for a period and gain medical clearance before returning to play. Of those who felt that they had been concussed in the preceding two seasons, worryingly, 66% of this group said they did not leave the field after that concussion, and 38% said they did not report their concussion to anyone, while only 10% said they waited the stipulated three-week IRB stand down before returning to play.
- Concussion must be taken extremely seriously to safeguard the safety and long term health of young players.
- Players suspected of having concussion must be removed from play and must not resume play in the same match, and until cleared to do so.
- All players suspected of having concussion must be medically assessed.
- Players suspected of having concussion or diagnosed with concussion must go through a Graduated Return to Play protocol (GRTP).
- Players must receive medical clearance before returning to play.
Remember the 4 Rs:
Recognise the signs and symptoms (PDF 859KB)
Remove the player from play (PDF 859KB)
Recover fully before returning to sport (PDF 859KB)
Return only after following a Graduated Return to Play (PDF 1.6MB)
Full information for schools and colleges (PDF 1.7MB)
Download the concussion assessment tool – Pocket SCAT3 (PDF 128KB)
Summary information for school coaches (PDF 74kB)
The information contained in this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for appropriate medical advice or care. If you believe that you or someone under your care has sustained a concussion we strongly recommend that you contact a qualified health care professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The authors have made responsible efforts to include accurate and timely information. However they make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of the information contained and specifically disclaim any liability in connection with the content on this site.