The UK government is to conduct a two year programme of research into concussion in grassroots sport, using an app, called SportSmart, to track the symptoms of injury and their treatment.
SportSmart is a digital injury management platform designed by a charitable company set up by former McLaren F1 team owner Ron Dennis. It allows users to record and manage head injuries, suspected concussions and other sports-related injuries.
In April, first ever UK-wide concussion guidance was published to help people identify, manage and prevent concussion affecting players in grassroots sport.
The data from the app trial will help test whether those guidelines - with the mantra 'if in doubt, sit it out' - are effective. The free app already has £165,000 users in the UK.
The NHS and many sports authorities have not routinely collected data on the number of concussions in grassroots sport. Brain injury charity Headway estimates 1.4 million people attend A&E in England and Wales with some type of head injury each year, with 95% of those classed as mild.
Andy Hunt, the chief executive of Podium Analytics, which designed the app, said “Only 2% of UK schools and grassroots sports clubs have a system for recording and managing sport-related concussion. For organisations to successfully implement the new government concussion guidelines, a centralised digital system to record and manage head injury incidences is needed.”
According to the current guidelines, anyone who sustains a concussion should not play contact sport for 21 days and should not return to any form of training for 14 days. Among the signs and symptoms of concussion listed by the guidance include: disorientation, dizziness, mental clouding, visual problems, “pressure in head” and sensitivity to light and sound.
To view the guidelines in full please click here.