Over the past couple of years, the Florey Institute for Neuroscience has given me the opportunity to interview leading experts in concussion, and the continuing progress that is being made to understand the mystery of what exactly causes concussion and how doctors can definitely say when a concussion victim has fully recovered. I’ve written major pieces for the Florey’s annual report and also for the Brain Matters newsletter.
The work being done has major ramifications for all contact sports – including participants in my beloved Australian Football League (AFL) and National Hockey League (NHL), at a pro level but also for amateur and everyday players, such as myself – as well as for the armed service, road accident and head trauma victims.
I have conducted several interviews with the Florey’s Professor Paul McCrory, a leading expert in the field, and sat in on a recent seminar discussing the most recent Berlin Protocol, by which all sporting concussions are assessed and managed.
If researchers can define the root cause of a concussion, it could lead to definitive treatments, and confirmation of when a soldier, athlete or accident victim is 100 per cent recovered. At the moment, the condition remains tantalisingly out of reach, but not for long.
Having worked as a publisher on http://www.afl.com.au and as a sports reporter for several decades, I’ve really enjoyed tuning into this very important work, concentrating on the health of the players, rather than the scoreboard or the politics of sport.