A Fermanagh charity has joined the campaign to ‘Sideline Concussion’ in contact sport and raise awareness of the dangers of playing on with a head injury.
William Hayhurst, a 22 year old medical student, is urging young sports people to be aware of the signs of concussion and the importance of recognising concussion on and off the playing field, with his ‘Sideline Concussion’ campaign.
The awareness campaign, was devised by William as part of his elective back in early 2013 while in his 3rd year studying medicine at the University of Manchester, and has already received backing and support from brain injury charity Headway Ennisrone based in Enniskillen and a number of sporting clubs including the Belfast Giants, and Northern Ireland Women’s Football.
An avid hockey player, Hayhurst had witnessed young players experiencing head injuries and recognised that there was not only a lack of awareness about the seriousness of concussion, but also a lack of information available to help educate young people like himself and his team mates.
“In my experience young athletes often want to remain in play after a hard tackle or collision to avoid causing disruption to the game, sometimes out of fear of appearing weak or missing future games. They are also not always forced to leave the pitch and certainly aren’t aware of what to look for as a sign of concussion following impact.
My review of the current research literature on concussion also showed young athletes take longer to recover from minor head injuries and concussions than mature athletes” said Hayhurst.
Johny Turnbull, Headway– the brain injury association, Ennisrone said: “We fully support William’s campaign. It is vital that sportspeople recognise that even a minor head injury can have major implications.
“When someone suffers a minor head injury, it can be difficult to assess the level of damage done. The symptoms may take some time to present themselves, which can lead to delays in receiving treatment. While the majority of minor head injuries will result in no lasting problems, when there are complications delays in receiving treatment can be fatal.
“It is vital we continue to raise awareness of concussion in sport by providing players, officials, coaches and parents with information on how to identify it and the appropriate actions to take.”
William hopes his campaign will be embraced by Fermanagh schools, clubs and sporting organisations and that young people, their coaches and parents alike realise the importance of treating head injuries with care and caution and acting proactively to protect athletes.
To request Sideline Concussion posters and flyers to share with your school or sporting club visit www.sidelineconcussion.com. You can also follow the campaign @SideLineConcuss
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