HomeAFLOne Step Forward, Two Steps Back For Concussion In Sport

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back For Concussion In Sport

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back For Concussion In Sport

Following major reports of plagiarism and unevidenced recommendations, the Concussion In Sport Group (CISG) chairman, Paul McCrory, has resigned immediately and been charged with plagiarism.

Immediately following the announcement and media reports detailing the unevidenced recommendations to several major sporting bodies around the world, the AFL has issued a statement advising it will conduct an independent review of the work, research, and advice it has received from the group.

The statement confirmed in May 2018, McCrory provided an enforceable undertaking to the Medical Board of Australia that he would not perform neurodiagnostic procedures and/or nerve conduction studies and/or electromyography until approved by the Board.

The AFL claimed it was previously unaware of the enforceable undertaking to the Board and said “he was an important and long-standing advisor on concussion and he was understood by the AFL to be a pre-eminent expert in the field”.

The AFL’s independent review will be conducted by an independent senior counsel and a professor of medicine experienced in medial and medical research ethics, with the focus of ascertaining the status and reliability of past research activities and outcomes, and clinical work McCrory was involved in for the league.

Elsewhere in global sport, the CISG had previously recommended World Rugby reduce its minimum return-to-play protocol following a concussion from three weeks down to six days.

Leading brain injury researcher, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde consultant neuropathologist, Dr Willie Stewart, who currently has an advisory role on World Rugby’s Brain Health Initiative, has since issued a call for all sporting organisations to review their concussion protocols if they were recommended by the CISG.

On Twitter, Dr Stewart said: “Suggest wider sport also review concussion policies informed by #CISG and their relationship with that group.”

Other major sporting organisations around the world who previously implemented recommendations from the CISG include the NRL, the NFL, FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, and the Football Association.

In a statement issued to the Guardian, FIFA said: “It is with great concern that FIFA has taken note of the resignation of Professor McCrory from the Concussion in Sport Group.”

“Given the seriousness of the situation, FIFA is currently analysing the work of the Concussion in Sport Group as a whole in order to decide the best way forward.

“Generally speaking, FIFA is fully supportive of the tools and information that has come from the consensus statements made by the CISG and it will continue to ensure these tools are freely available to all who wish to use them,” FIFA said in the statement.

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