The Medical, Scientific and Welfare Committee of the GAA in conjunction with Ms. Ruth Whelan (Physiotherapy Manager, UPMC Beacon Hospital) have devised new concussion management guidelines based on the findings from the 4th International Conference in Concussion in Sport.
Summary principles of GAA concussion management guidelines:
- Concussion is a brain injury that needs to be taken seriously to protect the long term welfare of all players.
- Any player suspected of having sustained a concussion, should be removed immediately from the field and should not return to play on the same day.
- Where a Team Doctor is present, he must advise the person in charge of the team (i.e. Team Manager) in this regard and the player must not be allowed to continue his participation in the game.
- Concussion is an evolving injury. It is important to monitor the player after the injury for progressive deterioration.
- Concussion diagnosis is a clinical judgement – Use of the SCAT 3 can aid the doctor in his /her diagnosis.
- Players suspected of having a concussion, must have adequate rest of at least 24 hours and then must follow a gradual return to play protocol.
- Players must receive medical clearance (by a doctor) before returning to play.
Signs and Symptoms
Contrary to popular belief, most concussion injuries occur without a loss of consciousness and so it is important to recognise the other signs and symptoms of concussion. Symptoms include:
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double/blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Feeling sluggish, hazy or groggy
- Just not ‘feeling right’
- Concentration/memory problems
- Pressure in hand
Return to Play
- A player with a diagnosed concussion should never be allowed to return to play on the day of injury.
- Return to play must follow a medically supervised stepwise approach and a player should never return to play while symptomatic.
- Recognise the signs and symptoms
- Report if suspicious, don't hide it
- Rehab with rest and medical guidance
- Return after following Return To Play Protocol and getting medical clearance
Concussion Management Guidelines 2013-2016
Concussion Awareness Videos
Concussion SCAT 3 - Medical Professional Use Only
Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool
Information for Players
Information for Coaches/Parents
Information for Referees
Want to know more about Concussion? If you are a player, parent, coach, referee or even medic who wants to know more about concussion, please try our e-learning course on concussion awareness!
The course takes 15 minutes to complete and there is a quiz at the end to test your knowledge. You will learn about:
1) Concussion Injuries
2) Signs and Symptoms
3) Action Plan
4) Coping with the Injury
5) Return to Play Protocol
6) Management in Children
For information on how to register and access the course, click here.
For a full range of resources including a GAA specific e-Learning course on Concussion Awareness, please visit our Learning and Development Portal.