One of Central Clinical School's 2nd year PhD students, Ms Georgia Fuller Symons, has won 1st place in Session 2 of the Monash Neuroscience in a Flash Competition. Congratulations Georgia!
Georgia's topic was "Hitting close to home: concussion in Australian collision sport". See more detail of her talk topic below.
The issue of concussion in sport has been thrown into the spotlight in recent years. The blockbuster
movie ‘Concussion’ starring Will Smith, has shed light to the concussion catastrophe in NFL football.
However, this realisation has taken longer in Australia.
Collision sports are an integral part of Australian culture, with events such as the AFL grand final and state of origin two major sporting and now cultural events of the year across many states. Not to mention the millions of children and adults that partake in Australian football and rugby leagues worldwide. There has been some scepticism to the effects of concussion in these sports with some suggesting ‘were different to American collision sports’.
At last, we’re finally seeing this issue hit close to home (so to speak), with the first ever cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) discovered in Australian collision sport athletes in the last year; in two ex-Rugby league players and more recently in ex-AFL player Polly Farmer.
CTE is irreversible brain damage linked to repeated concussion that can only be diagnosed at death, but can cause personality changes, cognitive decline, mental health problems.
We currently lack research into the effects of concussion in Australian collision sports. Primarily we aim todevelop more objective and sensitive tools to better diagnose concussion, monitor recovery, and return-to-play decisions and minimise immediate and future brain damages.