Concussion-related injuries suffered by students in contact sports CCAs

Published Date: 04 October 2021 09:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye, Radin Mas SMC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether concussion-related injuries are common among students involved in contact sports as part of their co-curricular activities; and (b) what are the safeguards put in place to ensure the long-term health of students who engage in such sports.

Response

1. Concussion-related injuries are not common among students involved in contact sports. On average, less than eight cases of concussion-related injuries have occurred each year in contact sports in schools and National School Games (NSG) from 2017 to 2019. Due to disruptions and cancellations of sports CCAs and NSG competitions, only two cases of concussion-related injury were reported in 2020 with none reported in 2021, to date.

2. MOE takes a comprehensive approach when managing safety in physical sports activities in schools, with measures covering pre-activity, during-activity, and post-activity management. Schools are provided with physical sports CCA safety resources on sports concussion and safety management guides for six high-contact sports training (basketball, football, hockey, judo, rugby, taekwondo). These guides provide sport-specific information required to ensure the safety of student athletes. For example, all students participating in rugby CCA must learn how to execute different tackling techniques correctly to minimise injury risks.

3. Additionally, MOE provides resources to guide schools in recognising concussion injuries in our students. A set of sports concussion management guidelines has also been provided to guide schools on managing the recovery process if a concussion-related injury occurs.

4. Schools follow standard procedures to protect the long-term health of students involved in high-risk sports. When a student is suspected of a concussion injury, he would cease participation immediately and be advised to seek medical attention. For students who have incurred a concussion injury, clearance from a medical practitioner would be necessary before returning to competitive sports. In preparation to return to competitive sports, a Graduated Return-To-Sport (RTS) strategy, which guides the progressive increment in the intensity of physical activities, is practised.

5. To better safeguard students against potential head injuries in sports like Taekwondo and Softball, head guards and helmets are compulsory for all students. In addition, paramedics trained in head-spine injury management are present at the competition venues for Rugby and Judo at the NSG.

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