Former Norwich players demand action after report on concussion in sport
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Sports can no longer be left to "mark their own homework" on reducing the risks of brain injury from concussion, an inquiry by MPs has concluded.
Norfolk researchers and campaigners, including former Norwich City players, have welcomed the report that calls for a standard definition of concussion that all sports must use, and a paid medical officer at every major sporting event.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee, which examined acquired brain injury, found failings including a lack of government action on previous safety recommendations.
The report accused football authorities of taking too long to engage with the issue and that a coroner's verdict on former West Brom and England striker Jeff Astle almost 20 years ago should have led to a "stronger, sustained interest" in the issue.
Dr Michael Grey, from the University of East Anglia’s School of Health Sciences, who also gave evidence as part of the report, said: "This is a challenging report, noting particularly that government and sport authorities have not done enough in this important issue.”
He added: "The report tends to focus on elite and professional sport. We should not lose sight of the fact that millions of people participate in sport every weekend.
You may also want to watch:
“Sport related brain injury is therefore a public health issue and there remains a need to look for ways to prevent and reduce such injuries where possible.”
The report recommends the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) work with sports organisations to establish a national framework for the reporting of sports injuries by July 2022.
- 1 Revealed: Siblings' bodies were found after father's death
- 2 Drip, drip, hooray! City's bottled water crisis solved
- 3 No-frills Norwich pub offers top-notch food and every dish is under £8
- 4 Sales rep who died at nature reserve named at inquest
- 5 Widow threatened with debt collectors after funeral director’s bill blunder
- 6 Why is it so difficult to buy bottled water?
- 7 Man steals £250 guitar from charity shop
- 8 Locals split as 'terrifying' 60-year-old chestnut tree is felled
- 9 Comedian Rufus Hound on the hunt for hotel in Norwich
- 10 Brother and sister found dead in their home are named
Within a year of that, all sports should be required to report any event that might lead to an acquired brain injury, it states.
Dr Grey is currently undertaking a ground-breaking UEA research project into repetitive head impact exposure in sport that involves 50 current and former professional players, including Iwan Roberts.
Speaking in a three-part podcast series on concussion awareness in sport and the role of headgear, the former Wales and Canaries striker said: “The sad thing is, it's probably taken for us to lose some proper legends of the game.
“Over the last two years or so, we've seen three or four from the England '66 team sadly pass away with this horrible illness [dementia] for it [concussion] to come to the forefront.”
Chris Sutton: 'Act now..don't kick the can down the road again'
Former Norwich City footballer Chris Sutton, a campaigner on the issue of head injuries in sport, having seen his father Mike die after a long battle with Alzheimer's following his career in football, was among those to give evidence.
Urging urgent action on the report’s findings, he said families did not want the “can kicked down the road” again.
“Football still needs a limit on heading in training to be introduced. Does this hurry that up?” he wrote in the Daily Mail.
“It still needs coaches to be educated on why it's unnecessary for children to be heading the ball. Will that be set up?”
Addressing the DCMS recommendation that UK Sport should pay for a medical officer at every major sporting event, he added: “Every Premier League game? Every Championship? Lower? Let's see what happens next.
“As always, as much as I'd like changes to happen now, I expect this to be a slow process because football works at its own snail's pace.”