Concussion return-to-play behaviour of South African Rugby Union (SA Rugby) Youth Week players: a pilot study
Introduction: BokSmart has disseminated Graduated Return-to-Play (GRTP) guidelines for concussions management to all, but specifically coaches, in South Africa. Medical clearance before returning to play (RTP) is poorly adhered to in the GRTP steps. This study explored barriers to compliance with medical clearance prior to RTP.
Methods: Players who suffered a concussion during the 2014/2015 South African Rugby Youth Week Tournaments were followed-up telephonically until RTP. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore enablers/barriers to seeking/not seeking medical clearance before RTP.
Results: Of those who did not seek medical clearance (47%), 80% indicated that the player/parent or coach felt this was unnecessary. Of those who did seek medical clearance, 65% reported they were instructed to do so either by the tournament doctor who diagnosed the injury or by the school coach.
Conclusion: Besides coaches, parents and medical doctors have an important influence on players’ RTP behaviour. The findings of this pilot study need to be repeated in a larger cohort.
Keywords: injury management, head injury, youth, football, South Africa