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Concussion in sport

View profile for Amy Jones
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Recent press coverage over a proposed group action by nearly 300 rugby players in relation to concussion injuries has raised the issue of this type of injury and how it occurs. Below is a quick summary from our Personal Injury team of concussion, how it occurs and what can be done about it from a legal point of view.

What is concussion?

Concussion is a minor traumatic brain injury resulting in a temporary loss of mental function following an injury to the head. Symptoms of concussion, which may be immediate or delayed, include: loss of consciousness, forgetfulness, confusion, affected vision, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.

How can concussion occur in sport?

Concussion may occur in sport through the collision of participants, participants falling over, or objects striking the head. Whilst concussion is possible in all sports, it is particularly common in contact sports, with rugby, ice hockey, and American football being the sports with the highest rates of concussion.

If I suspect I have concussion, what should I do?

If you suspect you have concussion, stop participating in any sport immediately and seek medical attention. For the next 24 hours, you should rest and undertake only gentle exercise, and should not be left alone, drink alcohol, drive a vehicle, or operate machinery. You may only return to playing contact sports after at least 14 days and after discussing this with a medical professional.

Can I make a claim for a sports concussion injury?

Bringing a sports injury claim can be difficult and requires specialist advice. The biggest barrier to a successful claim is often the defence that, with most sports, the claimant has consented to the risk of some level of injury. This can be overcome by showing the danger created went above the normal level of risk. Moreover, claims can be brought against the organisers of events if the correct risk assessments have not been carried out or against those officiating if there is no action taken or intervention, when it is apparent from the nature of the game, there is a risk of injury.

If you have any questions relating to concussions in sport, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our personal injury team.