Sports injuries under the spotlight at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital symposium

More than 200 sports physicians, GPs and physiotherapists gathered in Brisbane on Saturday May 23 at a St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital symposium to discuss the latest developments in managing sports injuries.

Guest speaker at the event was Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo who recovered from a broken wrist at the start of the 2014-15 A League season. After surgery and a three-month rehabilitation program, he was able to resume the demanding duty of goalkeeping for the Brisbane Roar: “As a professional goalkeeper, you are using your hands constantly so getting the right treatment was vital,” he said.

Leading orthopaedic and other specialists presented findings on a range of sports-related conditions, including hand and wrist, knee, shoulder, leg and ankle injuries.
Speakers included Dr Sarah Watts, Dr Patrick Weinrauch, Dr Steven Frederiksen, Dr Dale Rimmington, Dr Greg Sterling, Dr James Fitzgerald, Dr Kelly MacGroarty, Dr Michael Lutz and Dr James Fardoulys.

St Andrew’s Emergency Centre’s Dr Jeff Conn discussed how to best manage concussion in sport.

Dr Conn said St Andrew’s Emergency Centre treated approximately two to four cases of concussion a week, and most of these were related to weekend sports injuries.

“Awareness about concussion is growing quickly but we still have a situation where a lot of people presume that you can only get concussion if you are knocked out, and this is not always true.”

Dr Conn said concussion symptoms varied widely.

“It can be as simple as a vacant stare. If a player has had a head knock and they are on the field, staring into the distance and don’t appear to be aware of their surroundings, that could be a symptom.”

Dr Conn said concussion required physical and mental rest.

“All concussions are different, but the message is, ‘if in doubt, sit it out’. Sometimes that may mean a player not going to school or university for a period of time.”

He said medical management of children with head injuries was “conservative”.

“With kids who experience concussion, we would recommend a longer rest, certainly while they have symptoms which could include headaches, problems with concentration, and memory problems.

“It can be up to a parent to know when their child is not themselves,” he said.

“We know that if players go back to mentally and physically exerting themselves before they have fully recovered they can risk post-concussion syndrome which can go on for weeks, months even, years.

“If you are in any doubt about a possible concussion, see your doctor or go to a hospital emergency department,” he said.