The wellbeing of BMX riders has been put under the microscope, with BMX Australia officially adopting a concussion policy ahead of the 2017 national titles, which begin on Monday April 24 in Brisbane.
Management of concussion and head trauma has been at the forefront of the global sporting landscape for some time, with Australian bodies such as the NRL and AFL undertaking steps to ensure best practice, while abroad bodies such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the NFL also abide by a best-practice guideline.
For BMX Australia the newly announced guidelines have been developed to assist athletes, coaches, team managers, officials and others responding to athletes who incur a head injury. The guidelines are general in nature and are not intended to replace medical assessment and treatment.
Key points of the document provide definitions and recovery recommendations for concussions, while also highlighting the visual indicators of concussion.
Importantly the document also sets out a ‘remove from play’ rule, whereby any riders with suspected concussion will be immediately removed from competition, and will not be permitted to return until an assessment by a qualified medical practitioner is performed.
Riders will also need to produce a medical certificate outlining clearance to return to riding in these circumstances.
BMX Australia CEO Martin Shaw said that this new policy is an important measure in placing rider safety at the pinnacle of the sport.
“First and foremost we need to look after our riders, their health is the most important thing on any given day,” Shaw said.
“No matter what the circumstances, as a sporting organisation we do not place a result, or potential result above the duty we have to looking after our riders.
“I ask that riders, coaching staff, trainers, parents or any others refrain from the temptation to suggest an injured rider return to the track. Those enforcing this policy will do so with the best intentions for rider safety.
“Chances to achieve great results on the track will present themselves multiple times throughout a competitors career, however you only get one opportunity to look after your head. We’re advocating for people to make sensible choices with this policy.”