Concussion

Brisbane Women’s Hockey Association is committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of all participants of our sport. This is why we ask all of our members, both playing and non-playing, to understand what to do when a player has a suspected concussion.

BWHA has recently adopted Hockey Australia’s Concussion Policy. Clubs and members need to be aware of the policy and understand the requirements regarding game-day concussion management, reporting, and timelines for return to play. This is essential to ensure our players’ well-being and safeguard our sport.

The guidelines below outline what you, your team, and your club must do when a player has a suspected concussion from playing our sport.

Game Day Concussion Management

The most important steps in the early management of concussion include:

• Recognising the injury may be a concussion or suspected concussion;

• Removing the player from play or training; and

• Referring the player to a medical professional.

Recognise & Remove

Any player(s) must be removed from play or training immediately if safe to do so and not return to play or training if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dazed, blank or vacant stare
  • No protective action in falling to the ground
  • Behaviour change atypical of player
  • Seizure/convulsion or lying rigid/motionless due to muscle spasm
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Motor incoordination
  • Memory impairment

Any player(s) must be removed from play or training immediately if safe to do so for further assessment if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Possible occurrence of any of the clinical features listed above
  • Facial or head injury
  • Lying motionless for over two seconds
  • Balance problems/dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Any other features that the player is ‘not quite right’

Stop

Umpires should stop the game immediately if they observe any of the above signs or symptoms or if a team official or spectator brings it to their attention. The player must be removed from the field of play.

The umpires are responsible for stopping the match if a player has an injury or a suspected concussion. However, they are not responsible for assessing players for injuries or concussions.

Under no circumstances should the removed player be allowed to return to play, training or activity on the same day unless a medical professional clears them of concussion.

Remove

A club representative must remove the player with the suspected concussion from the field. Under no circumstances should the removed player be allowed to return to play, training or activity on the same day unless a medical professional clears them of concussion.

Red Flags

If there are any red flags, e.g., loss of consciousness, neck pain, vomiting, or worsening symptoms, ensure that a club representative calls an ambulance or that the player is taken to the emergency department.

Please refer to the Concussion Management Workflow in all instances.

Reporting

All suspected concussion incidents must be reported to Hockey Australia and BWHA. The player or the relevant official handling the situation must fill in a Concussion Report Form.

Return To Play Timeline

The return-to-play guidelines for players with suspected concussions were updated in the new policy. Clubs and players must follow the timelines below if a player has a suspected concussion.

Players who are removed from training or playing due to a suspected concussion must not:

  1. Resume training before 14 days from the date of suspected concussion (if free of symptoms at rest); and
  2. Return to playing before 21 days from the date of the suspected concussion.

No one other than a medical practitioner can decide that it is ok for someone with a suspected concussion to resume participation on the same day. Parents, coaches or officials cannot make this call.

Please read the Hockey Australia Concussion Policy for all information on concussion management and reporting.

Other Resources

You may find it valuable to look at an online Sport-Related Concussion Short Course put together by Connectivity. This 15-minute interactive course educates coaches, umpires, staff, volunteers, parents, and other interested people on recognising and managing a sport-related concussion injury. The course is self-paced, so you can complete it anytime. You may choose to take a further 40 minutes to listen to the stories of people with a lived experience of concussion in a sporting context.

Concussion FAQs