Sports concussion in the spotlight

11 March 2014

Three TV appearances in one week have helped Alan Pearce to educate the public about the dangers of serious concussion.

An appearance on the SBS "Insight" program capped off a trifecta of television appearances in one week for Deakin's sports concussion expert Dr Alan Pearce.

Dr Pearce has been spreading his message about the long-term effects of serious concussion that can afflict professional and amateur sportspeople alike, in a range of contact sports.

He appeared on "Insight" with former Rebels player Michael Lipman, and Canadian neuroscientist, Dr Dave Ellemberg.

The media interest was sparked, in part, by former rugby star Ian Roberts revealing that he has been diagnosed with brain damage, after being knocked out up to a dozen times throughout his career.

Dr Pearce appeared on "The Sunday Program" on March 9, was on "The Project" on March 10, and "Insight" on March 11. He says he has been more than happy to discuss his research in the media, if he can get the message out there that people need to take care on the sports field and respond to concussion appropriately.

"We need kids to be involved in physical activity, but we need to make sure that the rules are safe, and we need to manage them properly after they experience concussion," Dr Pearce said.

He added that adults who play at the recreational level should also alert medical practitioners when they experience concussion. "If you have a head knock, you can’t just shrug it off," he said.

On a more positive note, Dr Pearce said that the message "is getting out there" for players at the professional level.

Working within Deakin’s School of Psychology, Dr Pearce has investigated the brain function of 40 retired Australian rules footballers who had all suffered more than two serious concussion incidents on the field. His findings have drawn attention to the crucial importance of following strict protocols for serious concussion incidents, including rest and monitoring.

The sports concussion stories can be viewed at:

Dr Alan Pearce Dr Alan Pearce

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