What is concussion?

  • Concussion refers to a disturbance in brain function caused by a direct or indirect force to the head.
  • Concussion results in temporary loss of brain skills such as memory and thinking.
  • Usually the changes are temporary and the majority of people recover completely if managed correctly.
  • Concussion does not involve structural damage or any permanent injury to the brain.

How common is concussion?

  • Concussion is a common problem in many sports especially those involving body contact, collision or high speed.
  • In Australia common participation sports such as Australian Rules Football, Rugby League and Rugby Union have high rates of concussion.
  • Concussion is also highly associated with netball, soccer, cricket, martial arts and equestrian.
  • Concussion is more common in children than any other age group.

What about Recovery?

  • The process of recovery varies on a case by case basis.
  • In most instances (80-90%), recovery occurs within 10-14 days of injury, however in a small number of cases recovery is delayed over weeks to months.

Are there any complications?

  • In general, complications are not common.
  • The risk of complication is increased by allowing a player to return to play before they have fully recovered.
  • It is extremely important to recognise concussion and keep the player out of training and competition until they have fully recovered.
  • Some potential complications following concussion can include:
    • Higher risk of injury or repeated concussion on return to play
    • Prolonged symptoms (lasting more than 14 days)
    • Depression and other mental health issues
    • Severe brain swelling (particularly in young players)
    • Long term damage to brain function