On 27 May 2016, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and the
Australian Medical Association (AMA) released a joint Concussion in Sport Position Statement in response to
a growing national concern about sport-related concussion. The
release follows the recent death of 15 year-old Lui Polimeni on 25
May 2016 from a concussion injury sustained at a regional NSW
junior rugby league match and the death of Australian cricketer
Phillip Hughes in 2014.
The Position Statement provides information on the
identification, assessment and best practice management of the risk
of concussion in sport. It sets out useful guidance on the
management of on and off field
assessments, recognising that participant safety and welfare is
The Position Statement also highlights the importance of
education and prevention. It advocates engagement and effective
management by all stakeholders to eliminate risks by using
protective equipment, and assessing and appropriately managing
Relevance to sporting organisations and schools
Sporting organisations and schools have obligations under
legislation, including the harmonised Work Health and Safety Acts,
to ensure the health and safety of athletes and participants
(whether paid or voluntary) is not put at risk from sporting
programs and activities so far as reasonably practicable.
Mechanisms and systems that are implemented to effectively
manage risks associated with sport, including incidences of
concussion, may help enhance participant safety, protect the
integrity of the sport and reduce potential exposure to criminal
prosecution and civil claims for damages.
The release of the Position Statement is a timely reminder for
review, update and/or develop policies and procedures to manage
risks and hazards
incorporate safety design features into sports programs
including, if necessary, rule changes
consider necessary protective equipment for participants
review and develop appropriate first aid and emergency plans
for head injuries sustained during the course of activities and
communicate and consult with athletes, participants, parents,
teachers, coaches and referees
review any contractual terms with stakeholders to develop a
consistent concussion management approach, and
ensure your organisation has public liability and employment
practices liability insurance policies in place.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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