College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Sports stars support concussion initiative

Two leading figures from British sport are backing a research-led initiative to raise awareness of the risks associated with concussion.

Concussion

Ex-Scotland rugby star Jason White and Olympic cycling medalist Katie Archibald appear in a video that highlights the need for better understanding of the condition – particularly in sport.

In the video, former Scottish captain White recalls times he felt under pressure to play with concussion because he did not want to disappoint his teammates.

And gold medallist Archibald, twice a victim of concussions, pays tribute to her backroom team for the way they helped recover on both occasions.

Misconceptions and lack of awareness often prevent people from spotting the signs and symptoms of concussion, and from knowing what to do if they think it’s happened.

Dr Stephanie AdamsUniversity of Edinburgh’ School of Education and Sport

Ongoing debate

Concussion – also known as mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) – has been the subject of much debate in football this week after a clash of heads in an English Premier League game.

The project team – led by the University of Edinburgh – has created the video to share a range of perspectives and highlight the need for better education about the injury.

A key strand of the ConcussED project will be interactive educational programmes that build knowledge, transform practices and enable people to learn about the latest research developments.

Unreported cases

Concussion is one of the most common brain injuries but around one half of all cases go unreported or undetected, the Edinburgh team said.

Among the misunderstandings are that a person needs to be knocked out to sustain a concussion, or that it mainly occurs in high contact sport such as rugby or American football.

The serious physical, mental and emotional consequences that many people suffer could often be avoided if the injury were handled better, researchers said.  

ConcussED’s work is vital. There’s been much progress with concussion in recent years, but there’s still so much to do and effective education has a key role to play.

Peter RobinsonConcussion campaigner

Common misconceptions

Misconceptions and lack of awareness often prevent people from spotting the signs and symptoms of concussion, according to project leader Dr Stephanie Adams.

Dr Adams, of the University’s School of Education and Sport, said knowledge gaps often meant people did not know what to do if they thought concussion had occurred,

Concussion campaigner Peter Robinson, who lost his son Ben following repeated concussions during a school rugby match, also features in the video.

Mr Robinson described ConcussED’s work as vital. He said effective education about concussion would help ensure the progress of recent years can continue.”

The video was made possible with support from the Wellcome Trust. 

Related links

Watch the video