International Panel Revises Recommendations for Concussions in Sport

A group of more than 100 expert researchers and clinicians from around the world has released an updated consensus statement on concussion in sport, which includes new scientific evidence and revised recommendations on concussion diagnosis, management and prevention. 

Committees and task forces involved in the development and management of health and safety recommendations for NCAA members, including the Concussion Safety Advisory Group and Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, will review this guidance and consider updates to current member resources, such as the Concussion Safety Protocol Checklist and Concussion Safety Fact Sheets.

"The updated consensus statement will become the most widely recognized guidance in the world on the diagnosis, management and prevention of concussion in sport," said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, who served on the panel of international experts that led the research. "Its impact will be felt across the globe, including among NCAA member schools and conferences and their student-athletes." 

The consensus statement on concussion in sport is based on the outcomes from the sixth International Conference on Concussion in Sport, held in Amsterdam in October 2022 and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Researchers and investigators have been collaborating for five years toward the final consensus statement and 10 accompanying subspecialty articles.

Among the recommendations included within the consensus statement: 

  • New and updated age-appropriate tools to aid identification and management of concussion.
  • New versions of strategies for return to active education and sport.
  • Stronger evidence for the recovery benefits of light intensity aerobic exercise within the first 48 hours following concussion.
  • New targeted approach to concussion rehabilitation, including cervicovestibular rehabilitation for athletes with post-concussive neck pain, headaches, dizziness and/or balance problems.
  • Call for an interdisciplinary working group to guide research into potential long-term effects.

"This updated consensus paper references numerous academic studies from the landmark NCAA-DoD CARE Consortium," Hainline said. "The NCAA, in collaboration with the Department of Defense and the membership, remains committed to advancing the understanding of the long-term impacts of sport, lifestyle, genetics and modifiable risk factors of brain health."

The NCAA's Sport Science Institute will be facilitating a meeting in June for CSMAS representatives and the Concussion Safety Advisory Group to review the new consensus statement and consider updates to relevant membership resources. Any changes will be made and distributed on a timeline to be determined in consultation with CSMAS and the membership.    

"The SSI is available to answer questions and support the membership as it diligently evaluates the updated guidance and member resources," Hainline said.