New concussion evidence marks ‘momentous milestone’ in rider safety

  • The FEI will carry out a “comprehensive review” of its concussion policies and guidelines as new evidence is published.

    This month the Concussion in Sport Group published its “consensus statement on concussion” in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The work, which was presented at the sixth International Consensus Conference Concussion in Sport in October 2022, is made up of 10 systematic reviews and methodology, carried out by more than 100 researchers and clinicians, with the aim of optimising the care of athletes at all levels of participation who have, or who are at risk of, concussion.

    The statement includes new and updated protocols to help better identify and manage sports-related concussion. It features new evidence-based strategies for returning to sport and education, early exercise and treatment recommendations, approaches to prevention, and a call for a working group to be set up to guide further research into potential long-term effects of concussion on health.

    The FEI said in light of the new recommendations, which it supports, it will conduct a “comprehensive review” of existing policies, implement necessary changes to align with the latest scientific consensus, and ensure dissemination of this information to stakeholders.

    An FEI spokesman told H&H the publication of the statement signifies a “momentous milestone in commitment to athlete safety”.

    “This collaborative endeavour, bringing together sports organisations and healthcare practitioners, ensures that the policies shaping our sports are firmly grounded in robust scientific evidence,” the spokesman said.

    “In our pursuit of a common objective – to create a safe and enjoyable sporting environment for all – and as both fields progress, our safety measures must evolve in tandem to keep pace with these advancements, so that our athletes can grow and thrive with confidence.”

    British Equestrian (BEF) published new concussion guidelines for riders in March (news, 2 March). BEF chief medical officer Anna-Louise Mackinnon told H&H the organisation welcomes the new consensus statement.

    “We have been working on our recently published advice and protocols with this in mind. We will review the publications and provide updates if required,” she said.

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