Concussion guidelines in national and international professional and elite sports

Gavin A. Davis, Michael Makdissi, Paul Bloomfield, Patrick Clifton, Charlotte Cowie, Ruben Echemendia, Eanna C. Falvey, Gordon Ward Fuller, Gary Alan Green, Peter Harcourt, Jerry Hill, Kevin Leahy, Mike P. Loosemore, Paul McCrory, Adrian McGoldrick, Willem Meeuwisse, Kevin Moran, Shinji Nagahiro, John W. Orchard, Jennifer PughMartin Raftery, Allen K. Sills, Gary S. Solomon, Alex B. Valadka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The Berlin statement on sport-related concussion was published in 2017 using evidence-based recommendations. We aimed to examine (1) the implementation of, distribution and education based on the Berlin recommendations, and the development of sport-specific protocols/guidelines among professional and elite sports, (2) the implementation of guidelines at the community level, (3) translation of guidelines into different languages, and (4) research activities. Senior medical advisers and chief medical officers from Australian Football League, All Japan Judo Federation, British Horseracing Authority, Cricket Australia, Fédération Equestre Internationale, Football Association, Gaelic Athletic Association, International Boxing Association, Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Hockey League, National Rugby League, and World Rugby completed a questionnaire. The results demonstrated that all 14 sporting organizations have published concussion protocols/guidelines based on the Berlin recommendations, including Recognize, Removal from play, Re-evaluation, Rest, Recovery, and Return to play. There is variable inclusion of Prolonged symptoms. Prevention and Risk reduction and Long-term effects are addressed in the guidelines, rules and regulations, and/or sport-specific research. There is variability in education programs, monitoring compliance with guidelines, and publication in other languages. All sporting bodies are actively involved in concussion research. We conclude that the Berlin recommendations have been included in concussion protocols/guidelines by all the sporting bodies, with consistency in the essential components of the recommendations, whilst also allowing for sport- and regional-specific variations. Education at the elite, community, and junior levels remains an ongoing challenge, and future iterations of guidelines may consider multiple language versions, and community- and junior-level guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-425
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Concussion
  • Guidelines
  • Sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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