The Role of Family Physicians in the Management of Concussions. Position Statement.

2012 Feb
College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Concussion is an increasing concern in the sports world, the health care community, and the general public and has recently been the subject of increased media coverage. The recent focus on Sidney Crosby has brought the issue of concussions to light for most parents of young athletes competing in sport, and the need for knowledge and education in the area is paramount. Sport concussions have been noted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information to be the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury admissions in Canada. The potential implications of missed or poorly managed concussions make proper management essential.

A family physician is often the first medical professional seen by an athlete who has been hurt during play, practice, and/or competition and is thus the first point of contact for proper management, advice, and education regarding that athlete’s return to play. Family physicians also play a role in public education and awareness and can influence sport policy at all levels. It is essential therefore that family physicians are familiar with the contents of the most up-to-date concussion guidelines in order to provide the best care for their patients.

There is still much to learn about concussions in the medical field. The Sport and Exercise Medicine Program Committee of The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) recommends that family physicians be aware of and use both the Zurich 2012 Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport and the Canadian Medical Association’s Policy on Head Injury and Sport to help guide them in caring for their head injured patients. These documents are key sources of information on the management of concussions by all physicians. The SCAT3 and Child-SCAT3 document is also provided in the Consensus Statement and is integral to immediate management and return-to-play guidelines.

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