Senator Lidia Thorpe welcomes today’s tabling of the Report on the Senate Inquiry into Concussion and Head Trauma in Sport.
Quotes attributable to Senator Lidia Thorpe:
“We should not be afraid to address this issue. This is about ensuring that people can continue to play the sports they love.”
“I love sports. I have grown up with sports and to be honest, it has saved me. I don’t know where I would be without it. I know the importance sports have for our communities. It is important to ensure that players are as safe and supported as possible.”
“We need the report’s recommendations implemented as a matter of urgency so we can all do the sports we love safely, so we can do them for longer, and so that we can do what we love in life longer, and not be affected by injuries and their long-term consequences on us and our families.”
This important inquiry was initiated by Senator Thorpe in December last year and received unanimous support from the Senate. Since then the Senator has been deeply engaged at every stage of the inquiry.
The hearings revealed the harrowing impact of head injuries on people’s lives and the lives of their loved ones, both in the short and long-term. They also demonstrated that for way too long, these impacts have been downplayed in the sports and the community, with severe consequences to those affected. Action is much overdue and needs to be taken decisively.
The Senator endorses the recommendations put forward but would like to go beyond them and strengthen wording in a number of the recommendations as players and their loved ones need and deserve a firm commitment to change the way concussion is recognised, prevented and managed in this country.
The Senator has put forward additional recommendations, which include strengthening some existing recommendations as well as several additional ones. Senator Thorpe’s recommendations include:
- National sporting organisations to financially contribute to a national sports research body.
- That the Australian Government and sporting organisations increase funding for research into the effects of concussion and repeated head trauma on at‑risk cohorts who incur these injuries during their participation in sport
- The Australian Research Council Act 2001 to be amended to include diversity targets and a declaration of conflict of interest in the funding rules prepared by the ARC for each funding scheme.
- That national sporting organisations have compulsive record-keeping of concussions and identified sub‑concussive events at all levels of competition, and share this data with the National Sports Injury Database.
- All NSOs and their respective state and regional member associations must meet minimum competence on concussion and repetitive head trauma. Similar to CPR training, there should be compulsory education for all those involved with athlete preparation, coaching or management. Registered players should complete a concussion module annually to recognise the signs and symptoms of concussion and its basic management.
- That the Australian Government, in collaboration with medical experts, develops consistent return-to-play protocols, nationally binding across all sports, for both children and adults that have incurred a concussion or suffered a head trauma.
- The committee recommends that professional sporting codes and player associations provide the necessary supports, financial and otherwise, both in the short- and long-term, to current and former players affected by concussions and repeated head trauma.
- That the Australian government develop and implement a no-fault accident insurance scheme for those who participate in sports.
The Senator looks forward to a commitment from the Labor Government to implement the report in full and consider her additional recommendations, and emphasises the need for urgent action on concussion and head trauma.