51% of Surveyed GAA Players Reported Returning to Play Less than 24 Hours Post-Concussion
Aviva Stadium, Monday 5th October 2015: Brain injury specialists Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABI Ireland) have developed and launched a concussion application for smart phones with the support of Medtronic, one of the world’s largest medical technology, services and solutions companies. The app is designed to help coaches, team physicians, parents and other qualified healthcare professionals recognise and respond to a concussed player following a knock to the head.
Sponsored by Medtronic, the concussion education app named Concussion Smart is a portable, convenient and field-ready smartphone-based application; the app can be used to consider the likelihood of a concussion through an assessment that helps evaluate concussion signs and symptoms. In an effort to provide as accurate an assessment as possible, the assessment questions produced in the app are designed to coincide with the standardised concussion tool SCAT3.
Speaking at the launch of the concussion app, Barbara O’ Connell, CEO of ABI Ireland, said: “The purpose of this concussion app is to educate young players, coaches and parents about concussion as an injury, and to increase the awareness around how to assess a concussed player and when to take them out of the game. This concussion app is a tool that provides information to assist anyone monitoring a concussed player, whether on the side of a pitch or at home post injury. However, when it comes to the brain everyone must always error on the side of caution. Parents, coaches and even players themselves should never disregard seeking medical advice following a hit to the head; in addition to using the information provided within this app. We are thrilled to provide this assessment tool as a free download and it would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors Medtronic who have funded this project for the purpose of player welfare”.
Donal Balfe, Vice President, Operations, Europe & Asia, Medtronic, also addressed the audience today: “I am very pleased to be here at the launch of the Concussion Smart app. The app is a tool that harnesses the power of the digital age to help parents and sports coaches recognise the signs of suspected concussion. Medtronic is a global leader in medical technology. We push the boundaries of innovation to help people live better, longer lives. Here in Ireland, where we employ some 4,000 people in Dublin, Galway, Tullamore and Athlone, Medtronic is changing how debilitating, chronic diseases and conditions are treated and managed. So, it is fitting that, in the era of disruptive healthcare innovation, Medtronic would support the Concussion Smart app. I hope that everyone here today shares the news of the availability of the app widely and that we increase awareness of the dangers of concussion through its launch.”
The support by Medtronic of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland follows the launch earlier this year by the company of a €1 million national health initiative to support Irish organisations with innovative ideas on how to remove barriers to healthcare in under-served Irish communities.
ABI Ireland teamed up with the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) to survey 416 GAA players and asked them about their experience with concussion. Of those surveyed, it reported:
48% said “yes” to suffering a concussion
65% were not assessed by a medical practitioner
51% returned to play immediately or less than 24 hours after suffering a concussion
Headache/pressure, feeling unbalanced/dizziness, feeling sluggish, confusion and blurry vision reported as the most common symptoms suffered.
Commenting on the research was Dublin football player and ABI Ireland ambassador Rory O’Carroll: “The high number of players returning to play immediately after a concussion and the low number who are medically assessed are two areas that must be further reviewed and addressed to ensure effective concussion management is adhered to. No player should be putting themselves at risk by returning to the field of play too soon following a hit to the head. At inter-county we receive the best treatment but very often the same level of care is not available at club level. Tools such as the concussion app ‘Concussion Smart’ will provide instant information and education to anyone concerned about a concussed player of any age or competitive level”.
Clinically recognised by concussion specialists this app has been credited by well-known names such as Dr Barry O’ Driscoll, Chris Nowinski and Dr Adrian McGoldrick who have all contributed to the content within the app. Speaking about the app from a clinical perspective was Dr Adrian McGoldrick Senior Medical Officer, The Turf Club: “The launch of this app is a major step forward in the diagnosis and management of Concussion. It is user friendly for parents, teachers, coaches and medics and follows the 4th International Consensus Statement on Concussion. As medics we must always remember that concussion is an evolving process and detailed assessment should not be carried out for at least 10 minutes following injury. ABI Ireland and Medtronic should be lauded for developing this most essential app”.
Other supporters and contributors of the smartphone application also in attendance were ambassador and Dublin footballer Michael Darragh Macauley, George Hook along with medical experts Prof. John Ryan, Mr Cliff Beirne Prof. Mick Molloy and Dr Colin Doherty
The app launch and campaign message Mates Before Medals is calling on all players to look out for one another on the pitch and call on the coach if they see a player who has taken a hit and appears in need a medical assessment, or who just ‘doesn’t seem right’.
Concussion Smart is available to download for free in the App store (IOS) and will be available in the Google Play store (Android) in the coming weeks. This app is a screening tool and not a diagnosis tool. Parents, coaches and even players themselves should not delay or disregard seeking medical advice from a doctor or other medical professional, in addition to using the information provided within this app. For more information see our concussion campaign.