Various organisations and experts have published numerous statements and recommendations regarding different aspects of sports-related concussion including definition, presentation, treatment, management and return to play guidelines.1–7
To date, there have been no written consensus statements specific for combat sports regarding management of combatants who have suffered a concussion or for return to competition after a concussion. In combat sports, head contact is an objective of the sport itself. Accordingly, management and treatment of concussion in combat sports should, and must, be more stringent than for non-combat sports counterparts.
The Association of Ringside Physicians (an international, non-profit organisation dedicated to the health and safety of the combat sports athlete) sets forth this consensus statement to establish management guidelines that ringside physicians, fighters, referees, trainers, promoters, sanctioning bodies and other healthcare professionals can use in the ringside setting. We also provide guidelines for the return of a combat sports athlete to competition after sustaining a concussion. This consensus statement does not address the management of moderate to severe forms of traumatic brain injury, such as intracranial bleeds, nor does it address the return to competition for combat sports athletes who have suffered such an injury. These more severe forms of brain injuries are beyond the scope of this statement. This consensus statement does not address neuroimaging guidelines in combat sports.
- kick boxing
- martial arts
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Contributors Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data: JN, NKS, RT, RM and DM. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content: JN, NKS, RT, RM, DM, LL, EA, RW, JE, PR, RCC, BJ, MG, JWS and JG. Grammar editing: BS. Final approval of the version published: all authors. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved: all authors.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests PR serves as the CMO for the Retired NFLPA and as CTO of Premier Biomedical. RCC serves as a consultant to the NFL, Concussion Legacy Foundation and to NOCSAE. A version of this statement is posted on the ARP website: http://www.ringsidearp.org/
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Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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