ZURICH – Medical professionals from around the world have assembled in Zurich for the 4th International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport. The conference has been a driving force in determining the treatment of concussions across all sports leagues and federations around the world.
The conference is held every four years and is run by the IIHF, FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, the International Rugby Board and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. The previous conference was held in 2008, and resulted in the development of the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT2), a standardized method of evaluating athletes aged 10 years and older for concussions. It has been adopted across the sporting world, by top leagues such as the National Hockey League, the National Football League, and in IIHF and FIFA tournaments.
Among the high profile conference attendees will be IOC President Jacques Rogge, IIHF President René Fasel, FIFA Executive Committee Member Michel d’Hooghe, and Bernard Lapasset, Chairman of the International Rugby Board, along with a host of sports medical officers.
Representing ice hockey will be IIHF Chief Medical Officer Mark Aubry. Aubry, team physician for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, has been a key figure in the organizing of the conference, and has served as a chief Medical Officer for Hockey Canada and the Canadian Olympic team at the 1992 Winter Games. He has been involved since the first conference in October 2001 in Vienna, organized by IIHF, FIFA and the IOC.
“At the time there were a number of different groups that were interested in concussion work but had all different guidelines, for example on when concussed players should return to sport,” said Aubry. “Since both ourselves and FIFA had observed a rise in the number of concussions we felt it would be a good idea to bring the specialists from all sides together and develop a strategy that would look at treatment and, more importantly, prevention.”
The key goal of these conferences is the creation of a “consensus document.” The first two days of the conference revolve around a symposium on the different concussion topics that need answers. These topics typically revolve around concussion treatment and prevention, and determine measures such as when a concussed athlete should be allowed to return to play, what happens if an athlete has a concussion and how to treat them.
On the third day a panel of specialists then get together and develop a consensus document, which is communicated across the sports world. With the increase in concussion awareness, not just in professional sport but at the youth and amateur level, the importance of this conference and the consensus document that emerge from it has never been greater.
“Every professional organization around the world has adopted the consensus and has used the consensus to treat their players, to recognize the symptoms of concussion, how long they should be kept out, and how to treat them if concussion symptoms last longer than they should,” said Aubry.
“The goal is to advance the knowledge he have on concussions and develop a strategy for treatment and prevention,” said Aubry. “But the side issues are also important: are the tools we have now to recognize concussions good enough? Can we better them? We also need to get better at recognizing concussions on the field of play, and we need to have a stronger statement when it comes to not allowing players to return to play on the same day or in the same game.”
The concussion conference runs until Friday, with the consensus document planned for release on Sunday.
Hockey Canada launches concussion awareness apps
TORONTO – Hockey Canada launched free concussion awareness apps for smartphones and tablets on Thursday, with the endorsement and support of Team Canada alumnus Sidney Crosby.
The Hockey Canada Concussion Awareness apps are available in both English and French, with versions for adults and kids. The apps include a variety of resources and information on concussions, focusing on prevention, respect, rules, symptoms and return to play protocol. All these apps are available for Blackberry, iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded free on several websites and platforms including www.hockeycanada.ca, Blackberry’s App World, iTunes and Google Play Store.
Download the Hockey Canada Concussion Awareness Apps here.
“This app has a variety of very useful information on concussions for parents, players, officials and volunteers,” said Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson. “Download this app to your phone or tablet today, and you will have concussion information on prevention, rules, symptoms and ‘return to play’ protocol at your fingertips.”
“I feel very fortunate that hockey has been part of my life since I was very young and admire Hockey Canada’s commitment to educating families and players about all aspects of the game,” said Crosby. “It is important to always give your best effort and yet always be respectful of everyone on the ice. Be smart, stay safe and have fun.”
One version of the Hockey Canada concussion awareness app was developed for kids, and is a great tool to teach children how to prevent concussions through respect and playing by the rules. The app also puts important concussion information into easy to follow information for young players. It also contains an interactive game that features Hockey Canada's mascot, Puckster.
This Hockey Canada initiative is part of a national project bringing together Hockey Canada, ThinkFirst Pensez d’Abord Canada (TFC), a program of Parachute, leaders in injury prevention, the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Sport (CCES) and the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC). The project is aimed at reducing brain injuries in team sports in Canada and is funded in part by the federal government through its Active and Safe Initiative.
The project partners envision a country where all Canadian children and youth have access to safe team sport activities. It is expected that in collaboration with Canadian governments and their community partners, they can accomplish much over the next few years by focusing its collective efforts.