News

The latest news and updates from Netball New Zealand

Concussion Guidelines helping community netball

The netball community has welcomed recently published resources to help direct actions, responses and treatment of concussion in the sport.

NetballSmart consultant Sharon Kearney knows how daunting it can be for a coach or official to support a player with concussion and believes the guidelines developed are a positive step forward.

"The resources aimto increase the knowledge and understanding our netball community has around concussion - we need to help our players, coaches, officials and supporters firstly feel comfortable identifying the symptoms," said Kearney.

Only 10% of concussion results in a loss of consciousness and not all players will experience the same signs and symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose.

"It can take hours or days for symptoms to develop which is one of the reasons we all need to take responsibility for understanding concussion. A player may have had the knock at lunchtime, but not present with symptoms till a training that night.”

The message in netball's guidelines are overwhelmingly clear when a concussion occurs - remove the player from the court and refer them to a medical doctor.

"Concussion isn't something that a coach, manager or physiotherapist should diagnose - it's about watching for the symptoms and referring the player to a medical doctor if you have any doubt," said Kearney.

Included in the Concussion Management Guide - a resource which should be in every team bag - is a Return to Play Programme which helps everyone understand the player's journey back to the court.

The priority for players following a concussion is returning to school and/or work and this needs a plan.

"There are six stages involved in Returning to Play, which includes a medical clearance. This process shouldn't be rushed, the time to recover will vary in each instance - concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury and taking the time and getting appropriate treatment is critical."

While the incidence of a concussion in netball is relatively low compared to higher impact sports, the cases are increasing, with those most affected aged 10-19 years old. We also know that young females can have a heightened response to concussion and at times a longer recovery time from a concussion.

"Concussion is something that coaches and team management should prepare for. Having an understanding of what the symptoms are, having a Concussion Management Guide in your team bag, and knowing where your local emergency department or medical practice is critical."

Download the Guidelines, Management Guide and Poster here.