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Aust Fam Physician. 2014 Mar;43(3):94-9.

Updated guidelines for the management of sports-related concussion in general practice.

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BSc (Hons), MBBS, PhD, FACSP, Research Fellow, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Austin Campus, Melbourne Brain Centre, Heidelberg, Australasian College of Sports Physicians, Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre, Melbourne, Victoria.



Concussion is common in many sports and recreational activities. It is thought to reflect a functional rather than structural injury to the brain. The clinical features are typically short-lived and usually resolve spontaneously. Complications, however, can occur and may include prolonged symptoms and/or cognitive deficits in the short term, as well as depression and cumulative deterioration in brain function in the longer term.


This article will provide an updated clinical review of concussion in sport, with an emphasis on assessment and management in general practice.


The critical issues in the clinical management of concussion in sport include making a diagnosis, differentiating between concussion and other pathologies (particularly structural head injury), recognising the presence of any modifying factors (which may increase the risk of complications) and determining when the patient can safely return to competition. The key components of safe return-to-play decisions include rest, neuropsychological testing and a graded program of exertion before return to sport.

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