Wits physio Brink explains concussion protocol in light of Hlatswayo’s injury


Thulani Hlatshwayo missed Bidvest Wits last three games after sustaining a head injury in an Absa Premiership game against SuperSport United and the club’s physiotherapist Nic Brink explains the evolution of the concussion protocol.

Brink also outlines the measures that have been developed to protect the players and ensure that they recover free from strife.

“So, concussion protocol has changed a lot over the last few years. Traditionally there was a very generalised approach to concussion management which said: If you sustained a concussion, you need to be excluded from participation for a period of time and rest,” said Brink.

“That doesn’t necessarily fit into all the parameters with what people do at the moment. Nowadays, when someone is diagnosed with a concussion, they undergo a very strict set of testing protocols, that individual is monitored and undergoes rigorous testing – often, if not daily, multiple times in a week to determine their state of recovery.” – Brink. Picture courtesy of Wits. 

“This takes into effect computer testing, analytical and memory tasks, as well as ordering information and numerical tasks which they have to score accordingly. These points are determined by a baseline which we do on all our players at the beginning of the season,” added Brink who joined Wits back in 2014.

According to the former Chelsea Youth Academy physio, at the start of every season, Dr Peter Baxter conducts a baseline test on all ‘The Clever Boys’ in order to know where the players should be and know where they are which allows the medical team to get a clear idea of when and how the player will be able to return following a concussion.

“Sometimes mild concussions recover very quickly, and the player can return within a few days and naturally more serious concussions can take longer to recover. It is purely based on the individual, their symptoms, history of the injury and personal history of how many concussions they’ve had in the past,” said Brink.

Wits captain Hlatshwayo has played 29 games in all competitions so far this season with four goals and an assist. The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture courtesy of Wits.

To limit head injuries in all sporting codes, measures have been established with several football federations such as the English, Scottish and Irish FA’s introducing a no heading policy for children under the age of 11.

“All contact sports around the world are trying to make the game as safe as possible for every person participating.

“Over the period of time there will certainly be adjustments to make the game safer for everyone to participate in. This is a continuous, evolving process,” concluded Brink.

RELATED STORY: Hlatshwayo: Catch up games are a distraction.

By FARPost Reporter 

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