An image of a brain scan

Image provided by Getty.

Leading Loughborough academic calls for change in concussion crisis

A Loughborough University academic has called for radical change in the concussion crisis in sport in a recently published report.

Dr Dominic Malcolm, Reader in Sociology Sport from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, argues that while many changes have been introduced in recent years, there are many limitations which must be addressed:

  • All existing protocols treat concussions as having a singular rather than cumulative impact on health
  • Current protocols treat children more conservatively than adults
  • Existing monitoring and evaluation is limited at best

The report also recommends three radical future changes to ensure a safer and more robust environment surrounding the issue of concussion:

  • Combine sport medicine and public health under a new concussion regulatory body
  • Review employment practices to protect the clinical autonomy of sports healthcare workers
  • Invoke comprehensive cultural change so that the precautionary principle currently applied to concussion applies to all sports injuries

Dr Dominic Malcolm explained:

“Professional sport can be a highly dangerous occupation and whilst many sports governing bodies have made significant strides towards managing brain injuries, the government inquiry reflects public concerns that more should be done.

“There are both some quick wins and longer terms changes that can be made to reduce the dangers and so safeguard the future of these highly popular and culturally important activities.”

The paper is published as the government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) meet to discuss the scientific evidence on head trauma in sport and links with neurodegenerative disease such as dementia.  

To read Dr Malcolm’s report ‘The Impact of the Concussion Crisis on Safeguarding in Sport’ in its entirety, visit HERE.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 21/39

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in the Guardian University League Table 2021, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 6th in The UK Complete University Guide 2021.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.