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Australian Institute of Sport

AIS urges caution with concussion in children

08 February 2017

The AIS has urged parents, teachers and coaches to be vigilant about the early signs of concussion in junior sport as children prepare to begin the 2017 season in their chosen sports.

AIS Chief Medical Officer Dr David Hughes says concussion can be difficult to diagnose, particularly at a youth level.

“It’s important that anyone with concussion symptoms seeks medical treatment, but often the first people to notice these symptoms in children are their supervising adults – parents, coaches and teachers,” Dr Hughes said.

“Concussion is an evolving injury and sometimes symptoms can fluctuate over time, so the more people who are aware of concussion signs and treatments, the safer our kids will be.

A joint position statement by the AIS and Australian Medical Association (AMA) has recently been published in the Medical Journal of Australia and advises that following concussion, children should be symptom-free for 14 days before resuming full contact activities.

“A part of this project, the AIS also partnered with the Australian Medical Association to create the website There are videos, factsheets and downloadable pocket guides on concussion, which provides trusted, contemporary and easily accessible information on concussion for everyone in the community.”

A few key points include:

  • any suspicion of concussion requires immediate removal from sport;
  • children should not return to sport until cleared by a medical practitioner;
  • a child’s brain can take longer to recover than that of an adult brain, so the AIS and AMA recommend a minimum 14 day symptom-free  period;
  • you do not necessarily need a knock to the head to sustain a concussion; and
  • concussion is an evolving injury and anyone with suspected concussion should be monitored.

To hear more about concussion and children, listen to Dr Hughes’ podcast at

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