Throughout the rugby season, the children will be monitored and any concussive event experienced during play will result in immediate access to treatment, monitoring of symptoms and rehabilitation under the care of sports medicine physicians at Sports Surgery Clinic. Post-concussion test results will be measured against pre-season baseline results and recorded, outcomes of which will be provided to the player, his parents and his GP via an online portal.
Increasing evidence suggests that adolescent athletes respond differently following concussion and that individualised care is important in returning them to school, learning and sport.
The data collected during the pilot programme will help create a framework for the safe management of all adolescent athletes post-concussion and to develop a Concussion Passport that can be used to track school boys and girls through their careers.
The research team of experienced and well-respected sports medicine specialists is led by Dr Ciaran Cosgrave, Consultant in Sports & Exercise Medicine at Sports Surgery Clinic and lead doctor for Leinster Rugby. Co-investigators include Professor John Ryan, Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Emergency Medicine and team doctor to Leinster Senior Rugby Team and Professor Paul McCrory, neurologist and sports physician, Chairman of the Sports Surgery Clinic Research Foundation Scientific Advisory Board, from the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia.
The team is further boosted by the expertise of senior Sports Surgery Clinic medics; Dr Eanna Falvey, Director of Sports & Exercise Medicine and former Irish Senior Rugby Team doctor, Dr. Andy Franklyn Miller, Director of Rehabilitation & Research, Mr Cliff Beirne, Consultant Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon and Chairman of the Care Committee of the IRFU Charitable Trust and Colm Fuller, lead musculoskeletal physiotherapist.
According to Dr Andy Franklyn Miller, “Whilst the diagnosis of concussion remains at the forefront of research, we need to remember that children are sustaining concussion in all sorts of sports including GAA, rugby, horse riding, and in the playground, and have been for many years. Improving the care of these athletes after a concussion is our immediate priority.”
“We hope to learn which of these screening tests are most sensitive to improve the rehabilitation pathway. Memory, recall, thinking and understanding are not only vital to a student’s return to play but also of paramount importance to his or her ‘return to learn’, and this forms a large part of the study.”
Sports Surgery Clinic has developed a six phase concussion recovery process called The SSC6 Rehabilitation Pathway which sets out the journey from injury to safe return to play and study; Diagnosis and Assessment, Rest and Recovery, Return to Learn, Return to Submaximal Exercise, Return to Sport and Return to Performance.
Pre-season testing under the pilot study will commence in August. As well as announcing the research project today, Sports Surgery Clinic officially launched its Concussion Passport Clinic to provide pre and post concussion testing to the general public.