Tackling concussion with SportScotland

We have become one of the first schools in Scotland to support SportScotland’s guidelines on preventing brain injuries by including the “If in doubt, sit them out” logo on the First XV rugby strips.

Our commitment to the Sport Scotland initiative is one of several measures we have implemented to improve awareness and treatment of sports injuries. We have also recently become one of the first schools in Scotland to partner with Return2Play, the UK’s leading sports injury management provider for schools and clubs.

Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce uniform head injury guidelines that cover a wide range of sports. Sport Scotland’s “If in doubt, sit them out” approach, which is supported by the Scottish FA and Scottish Rugby, states that anyone with a suspected concussion should be immediately removed from play.

Concussion has been the most commonly reported rugby injury for the past three years. If untreated, the potential long-term effects of concussion include problems with attention and short-term memory, difficulty performing daily tasks and changes in behaviour.

Jonathan Hanson, Sports Physician at Sport Scotland, explained: “We still know relatively little about concussion so, whilst research is ongoing, it is so important that organisations such as Dollar Academy take up this initiative. It promotes accurate, early management of head injuries. This is especially important in school environments because young adults have a higher risk of concussion than adults as their brains are still developing.”

Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland international player and Dollar FP, John Barclay, captained the school’s First XV rugby team. He commented: “Throughout my professional career, I’ve witnessed the importance of rest and rehabilitation after a concussion so it’s amazing to hear that Dollar Academy has embraced the “If it in doubt, sit them out” guidelines.

“When pupils are performing at a high level there is a temptation to push through injuries to get a win at all costs. With attitudes like this prominent in contact sport, it is so important that coaches follow Dollar’s lead and take responsibility for player welfare.”

Don Caskie, Head of Rugby at Dollar, said: “Player welfare is the single most important factor that underpins the whole rugby programme here at Dollar. We have a responsibility to create the safest player environment possible, from coaching correct technique, providing first class pitch side care, injury monitoring and managing the rehabilitation and recovery process.

“Concussion recognition and management is vital. “If in doubt, sit them out” sums up the importance of recognising the signs, not taking a chance and doing the right thing every single time. By following these guidelines and spreading this important message, we can help to ensure Dollar pupils have long and safe careers both at school and beyond.”