Guidelines aim to combat inadequate concussion knowledge and treatments
Declan Schroeder, CONTRIBUTOR
Doctors and coaches may soon be better equipped to help athletes with concussions.
The Canadian government is teaming up with Parachute, an injury prevention charity, to develop evidence-backed national guidelines for dealing with concussions.
The new guidelines are aimed at preventing, managing, and raising awareness among Canadians about concussions.
Increasing awareness and educating Canadians on the impact of concussions are things that Caleigh Dobie, a University of Manitoba student and co-captain of the Manitoba Bisons women’s volleyball team, finds very important. Dobie suffered seven concussions from 2010 to December 2015.
“Concussions used to feel like something that people didn’t really understand, and so it didn’t seem that serious,” she wrote in an email.
People are starting to take concussions more seriously, according to Dobie.
“Society has been subjected to the fear that concussion patients feel,” she wrote.
“What happens later on in life? Can I continue to play the sport and take on the role that I live for? These are the questions I often ask myself. In recent years, these questions have become more publicly supported.”
Dobie’s short-term memory has been slightly affected by her concussions, she said.
While Dobie has never felt pressure to return to action before she was symptom-free, she believes professional sports have treated concussions too lightly in the past. However, she feels athletes are starting to speak more openly about concussions, and people are starting to understand their gravity and long-term effects.
Dr. Glenn Bailey, the chiropractor for the Winnipeg Goldeyes who has worked with concussion patients, agrees with Dobie. He believes agreeing on new guidelines is worthwhile and that education is key.
“[Concussions] are not taken seriously enough, overall, at all levels,” he said. “You get pockets of knowledgeable trainers and coaches, but not consistent. More training on this topic is needed and should be included at all coach training levels repeatedly.”
Bailey also points to athlete awareness as a key part of the solution.
“Athletes think they are fine, yet fine motor skills are affected as are subtle cognitive abilities…but the athletes just want to compete, so they say nothing,” he said.
Parachute has just started to craft the guidelines after attending the Fifth International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport in Berlin on Oct. 27-28.