British Cycling concussion

If in doubt, sit them out: British Cycling publishes first concussion guidance

British Cycling has published its first Concussion Guidance for sanctioned events and recreational activities, along with the launch of a new, free e-learning module to raise awareness of how concussion can be safely managed across all levels of the sport.

Based on the principle of ‘If in doubt, sit them out’, the guidance recommends that those sustaining a suspected concussion be immediately removed from cycling activity until appropriate treatment has been administered, and should not ride again that same day. In line with the Graduated Return to Play (GRTP) protocol, those who experience concussion symptoms – however mild – should follow a progressive programme back to full activity and should not return to competition for at least 21 days.

The guidance provides information on the common symptoms of concussion, the vital role of coaches, parents and riders, and advice on returning to cycling activity in line with the GRTP protocol. In addition to the guidance, British Cycling has also released an infographic poster for event organisers, coaches and clubs, and a free e-learning course, which can be accessed from today.

The guidance is based on the latest evidence and best practice from around the world, and discussions with a broad range of sports bodies and stakeholders.

Led by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nigel Jones, British Cycling has been at the very forefront of tackling the issue of concussion in cycling. Since its introduction in 2018, the Great Britain Cycling Team’s own concussion protocol for use in UCI international events has been adopted by many other national federations, and Jones supported the development of the UCI’s first policy on the matter, which was published in December 2020. In 2020 the Great Britain Cycling Team was awarded Care Quality Commission (CQC) status, in recognition of its work to provide riders with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care.

Ahead of the publication of today’s guidance, Dr Nigel Jones said: “In my time working with the Great Britain Cycling Team we’ve made excellent progress on educating riders, coaches and staff on the risks of concussion, and how we manage them appropriately to ensure that riders take the time they need to fully recover.

“The guidance for the wider sport which we are publishing today is another really positive step forward, and with the support of our resources and e-learning I hope that we will start to bust some of those stubborn myths about concussion and give people in the sport the tools and knowledge they need to keep riders safe.

“The message is really clear – for the safety of the injured rider and those they are riding with, if in doubt, sit them out.”

The introduction of the guidelines has been further strengthened by an amend to British Cycling’s Technical Regulations, which gives Commissaires and Referees the power to withdraw a rider from an event if they believe that their participation would affect the safety of that rider or others.

The updated regulations state that riders must withdraw themselves before or during an

event if they have sustained any injury which could affect their ability to participate safely, and if they fail to do so, a Commissaire may withdraw them if they consider their participation would affect the safety of the rider and/or other riders in the event (Technical Regulations G5 13.2 and 13.3).

Commissaires and Officials have been consulted throughout the development of the guidelines, with further input from British Cycling’s Integrity Committee and Board of Directors.

British Cycling’s Acting CEO, Danielle Every, said: “Recognising the importance of the issue, we’ve been through an incredibly rigorous and collaborative process to arrive at the guidelines published today, and I want to thank our staff, volunteers and colleagues in the wider sector who have offered their invaluable insight and support.

“Keeping riders in our sport safe will always be our top priority, and we know that the level of understanding about concussion and its impact currently varies hugely across our communities. Our focus therefore now switches to ensuring that the guidelines, our digital learning offer and other resources are seen and shared far and wide.”

Concussion research continues to evolve rapidly, and therefore these guidelines will be continually monitored and updated as and when required. For more information about our regulations and policies, email [email protected].

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