A Skye doctor has helped Scotland to become the first country in the world to introduce standard guidelines for dealing with concussion in sport.
Dr Jonathan Hanson, a rural practitioner based on Skye, served on the national working group that draw up the new guidance, which was unveiled at an event in Glasgow on Tuesday.
Dr Hanson served on the working group as a representative of the Camanachd Association, of which he is medical adviser.
“There has long been confusion on the management of concussion, with individual sports having different policies,” said Dr Hanson, who has long had an interest in the subject.
“Now, there is a single reference point in Scotland for the diagnosis and management of sports-related concussion. This makes it easier for medics and for those taking part in and organising sport.”
The new guidance is intended to cover all sports, and is particularly designed for those occasions where medics may not be in attendance.
Dr Hanson, who says he frequently deals with sports concussion in his day-to-day work, added: “There is a clear aim here: helping to ensure that concussion can be quickly recognised and managed effectively from the time the injury occurred to a phased return to play.”
The new guidance, with the tag ‘If in Doubt, Sit Them Out’, looks at what concussion is and how to recognise it, as well as how to deal with it when it takes place and before the person involved returns to active sport.
Among others who served on the working group which drew up the new guidelines were the Scottish Government’s chief medical officer, leading medics and representatives of sportscotland and of several of the governing bodies of a range of sports, including shinty. The guidance was launched at a Scottish sports and exercise medicine symposium held at Hampden Park.
Now, Dr Hanson hopes to use the new guidelines to influence the emergency advice given to NHS Highland patients following discussion to reflect what the guidance recommends regarding rehabilitation and a return to sporting activity.
As well as his role with the Camanachd Association, Dr Hanson is team doctor for the Scotland ’A’ rugby squad, resuscitation physician for the Scotland rugby squad and doctor for the Team GB mountain running squad. He was a member of the Team GB medical team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.