Sligo Rugby Club Supports National Concussion Campaign

Sligo rugby player, and Connacht Community Rugby Officer Gavin Foley, was at hand last weekend to show his support to Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s Concussion Awareness campaign Concussion.ie. Sligo Picture Framing and Art Gallery owner Kevin Woods was also present to hand over a framed Irish rugby jersey, autographed by the RBS Six Nations 2011 Irish rugby team. Local businessman Kevin Woods donated his time to frame the jersey free of charge, in the hope it will raise much funds for the organisation, through a national fundraising event later this summer.

ABI Ireland launched their Mind Your Head in Sport campaign last October whereby they began reaching out to players, coaches and parents, asking them to ensure protective headgear was being worn whilst playing sport. The campaign also stresses the importance of players and coaches to become aware of the injury of concussion; educating themselves on the relevant signs and symptoms.

Following the recent retirement of Leinster and Ireland rugby players John Fogarty and Bernard Jackman the issue of concussion became a topical subject of conversation amongst the media. Realisation of the lack of awareness and education amongst players and coaches alike, in relation to the issue of concussion, became both evident and questionable.

As such brain injury specialists Acquired Brain Injury Ireland have outlined guidelines for best practice concussion management through their Concussion Awareness Education Campaign; Concussion.ie. Concussion.ie is committed to become the home of concussion information; answering the questions that coaches and mentors have about concussion; while also setting aside recommendations for best practice guidelines.

ABI Ireland Communications Executive Karen O’ Boyle spoke to Gavin Foley about the campaign highlighting the need for further education “The game is now faster and the players even stronger; the hits are much more hard hitting. Players have become their own worst enemies, and so now need to be protected from themselves. They are not honest with their coaches, and they are not honest with themselves; no-one will volunteer to sit out to a ‘hard hit’, to them it is just part of the game. It is now up to the coach to take them out, insisting the player is rested”, she said.

“Any player who continues to play while concussed, or returns to play too soon after a concussion increase their risk of suffering from second impact syndrome (SIS). SIS is where a second concussion occurs before a first concussion has properly healed, causing rapid and severe brain swelling. Concussion.ie hopes to make players aware of the hits they are taking, and the impact it may be causing to the brain”, added O’ Boyle.

ABI Ireland ambassadors John Fogarty and Bernard Jackman have lived with, and know too well, the severe side effects caused from repeat concussion in their rugby careers. Both Fogarty and Jackman have become the faces of Concussion.ie, in the hope that we can bring about a significant cultural change toward the issue of concussion, and effective concussion management. Across the board our sporting bodies need a cultural change; finally making it acceptable for players to actually admit they have been concussed, and taking a break!

For more information on Concussion signs, symptoms and return to play guidelines see www.concussion.ie