Post-concussion 'return to play' decision for footballers should be made solely by doctors, says new editorial

An editorial published today in The Lancet Neurology calls for sports authorities to take into consideration the long term neurological problems that repeated concussions can cause.

Cerebral concussion is the most common form of sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the long-term effects of repeated concussions may include dementia, , and other neurological disorders, say the .

However, what is perhaps more concerning, is that even when the symptoms of concussion are delayed, or if they come and go quickly, neurological damage can remain without detection. This can lead to footballers, such as Uruguayan defender Álvaro Pereira during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, overruling doctors' advice to be substituted and returning to play after sustaining a head injury.

The journal editors argue that the decision for players to return to a game after sustaining a concussion should be made only by healthcare professionals, and "should surely be taken out of the hands of those with a vested interest in the player's performance."

According to the journal editors, "Many sporting organisations now acknowledge the potentially serious consequences of mild TBI and have drawn up new protocols to protect athletes who sustain a head injury'. However FIFPro, the world players' union, has called for an investigation of concussion protocols and return-to-play standards following Pereira's injury"

Related Stories

NIH, NFL team up to take on concussion research

date Dec 16, 2013

(HealthDay)—The U.S. National Institutes of Health is teaming up with the National Football League on research into the long-term effects of repeated head injuries and improving concussion diagnosis.

Recommended for you

The coming merge of human and machine intelligence

date 3 hours ago

For most of the past two million years, the human brain has been growing steadily. But something has recently changed. In a surprising reversal, human brains have actually been shrinking for the last 20,000 ...

How the brain makes decisions

date 3 hours ago

Some types of decision-making have proven to be very difficult to simulate, limiting progress in the development of computer models of the brain. EPFL scientists have developed a new model of complex decision-making, ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.