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UK Concussion Guidelines for Grassroots Sport

Volume 732: debated on Tuesday 2 May 2023

I wish to inform the House that His Majesty’s Government announced the UK concussion guidelines for grassroots sport in conjunction with the Sport and Recreation Alliance on Friday 28 April:

The vast majority of people participate in sport safely, but reducing the risks associated with concussion and making sport even safer for everyone is an ambition shared by both Government and the sport sector. Ultimately, we want more people to participate in sport and have a positive, enjoyable and safe experience.

The new UK concussion guidelines for grassroots sport are, therefore, a significant step forward. The most important message is: “If in doubt, sit them out”, and the new guidelines are designed to help those at grassroots level:

RECOGNISE the signs of concussion;

REMOVE anyone suspected of being concussed immediately and;

RETURN safely to daily activity, education/work and, ultimately, sport.

The guidelines are designed for everyone involved in grassroots sport from school age upwards—participants, coaches, volunteers, parents—as well as those working in education settings and healthcare professions. The guidelines are aimed at grassroots sport where trained healthcare professionals are typically not available to manage concussed individuals.

The guidelines have been developed by an independent drafting group of leading UK and international experts in the field of sport-related concussion who used the latest and most robust scientific and medical evidence available. The guidelines have been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and supported by the NHS and the home nations’ chief medical officers.

The UK-wide high level guidelines are part of a wider package of work being taken forward under the Government’s Action Plan on Concussion, as set out in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Command Paper of December 2021.

Since publication of the Command Paper, through the action plan, the Government have created a distribution network of key stakeholders to share the new concussion guidelines and directed UK Sport and Sport England to ensure that the guidelines are implemented where appropriate by sports in receipt of public funding.

We have also encouraged sport national governing bodies to discuss training protocols with player associations. For the longer term, we have also created an Innovation and Technology panel of experts to work with companies in the tech industry to explore technological solutions, and established a new Sports Concussion Research Forum to identify the research questions that need answering in this important area.

We encourage Members of the House to share this important message widely to ensure that the benefits of sport are enjoyed safely.