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Current practices in determining return to play following head injury in professional football in the UK

Abstract

Objective To investigate the awareness of English football team doctors of the ‘Consensus in Sport’ (CIS) guidelines for the assessment and management of concussion, and to identify adherence to these internationally accepted recommendations.

Method A questionnaire was sent to Club Medical Officers of all the 92 English Football league teams.

Results The majority (55.6%) of teams in the English Football Association (FA) do not routinely follow the CIS guidelines. Only 21% of teams routinely record an approved preseason cognitive score and only 42% complete a recommended postconcussion assessment. One-third are still using outdated fixed periods of abstinence following a concussion.

Conclusions FA players are not being treated according to the guidelines recommended by International sporting organisations. The endorsement of the CIS guidelines by the English FA would ensure that all medical teams have a sound and safe protocol for managing concussed players and making return to play decisions.

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