On Friday (28/04/23) the UK Government and the Sport and Recreation Alliance published new all-sport concussion guidelines to help all athletes, coaches, parents, schools, National Governing Bodies and sports administrators to identify, manage and prevent the issue.
SportCheer England strongly supports the new concussion guidelines and will continue to work with the cheerleading community to ensure that participants are better protected. The guidelines have been developed by an expert panel and sets out steps to improve understanding and awareness of the prevention and treatment of concussion in grassroots.
‘If in doubt, sit them out’ is the strapline used for the new guidance, making clear that no-one should return to sport within 24 hours of a suspected concussion. The guidelines include a recommendation to call NHS 111 within 24 hours of a potential concussion, to rest and sleep as much as needed for the first 24-48 hours and avoid devices which involve screen time.
As of May 2023 all sports coaches in the UK have been asked to read the new guidance and familiarise themselves with the necessary steps to:
· RECOGNISE the signs of concussion;
· REMOVE anyone suspected of being concussed immediately and;
· RETURN safely to daily activity, education/work and, ultimately, sport.
The stunt and tumbling components of cheerleading can leave athletes vulnerable to the risk of concussion (via a fall or collision), so it is critical that all cheerleading coaches are trained to respond appropriately. It is essential that at least one First Aid trained member of staff / coach / volunteer is present at all training sessions. In line with the new government guidance it is also essential for all individuals in coaching positions to have undergone additional education on concussions.
The guidance documents on concussion can be found below, along with some free training and education resources.
You can read the full guidance document here:
You can read the Sport and Recreation Alliance press release here:
You can read the DCMS press release here:
As a new NGB, SportCheer England does not currently have the financial resources to offer our own bespoke concussion education and training, however SCE aims to develop this over the next 3 years. While in development, you can find the following free resources available below:
FREE concussion training:
National Federation of State High Schools Association: https://nfhslearn.com/courses/concussion-in-sports-2
FREE concussion education:
USA Cheer offer free educational videos on concussion here: https://usacheer.org/membership/usa-cheer-membership
Research into concussion in cheerleading: