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St John supports AMA and AIS policy ‘If in doubt, sit them out’

St John Ambulance Australia welcomes the Australian Institute of Sport and Australian Medical Association’s recommendation for children to engage in a return to sport plan after experiencing a concussion.

‘Concussion is potentially dangerous for any person, and the risk is exacerbated for people under the age of 18 years, whose brains are still developing. While the majority of concussions do not need emergency medical intervention, there is always the possibility of serious brain injury. Any move to minimise the risk of complications resulting from a concussion, such as sitting out of sport for an appropriate period, are welcome,’ said Robert Hunt, CEO of St John Ambulance Australia.

‘Equally important is ensuring that appropriately trained first aiders are present at any sports game, as recognising the signs and symptoms of concussion is not necessarily simple or straight forward—there is the potential for hidden injury, even when someone seems fine after the incident. Recognition is the key for preventing further injury and the correct management of concussion. No head injury should be disregarded or taken lightly’, said Peter LeCornu, National Training Manager.

‘Qualified first aiders are trained in how recognise the signs and symptoms of a concussion, and know how to manage a casualty using the St John DRSABCD Action Plan, until medical aid arrives or is sought. Having a first aider present can alter the outcome for the casualty dramatically where complications arise. The casualty should always be advised to seek medical aid, even when they seem okay’.

‘The safety and wellbeing of the casualty is paramount, and if sitting out for a few weeks minimises the risk of ongoing complications that could significantly alter the course of a young persons’ life, then this move is warranted’, said Mr Hunt.

‘St John also believes that making first aid a part of everybody’s life is essential in the Australian community. Lending a hand when a mate is in need is what we do as Australians. When something happens on the field, it may take minutes for a first aider to arrive on the scene, and minutes can matter. Children are often the first on the scene at an accident at school, in the home or on the sporting field. This is why St John provides a free First Aid in Schools Program nationally, as a casualty’s team mate can make a difference between when the incident occurs and when help arrives—even if they are a child,’ said Robert Hunt.

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‘St John would like to see first aid reach all school students. Currently, first aid is not included as required learning in the Australia curriculum for primary school students. Children as young as 7 years can successfully learn first aid, including how to perform Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)—they can also instruct an adult in what to do should the need arise. St John calls on Governments take action in ensuring that all school children have the opportunity to learn this life-saving skill’.

St John is Australia’s largest provider of first aid training and services. For further information about St John Ambulance Australia contact 1300STJOHN or visit www.stjohn.org.au.

Media contact
Belinda Ding
National Policy Manager
St John Ambulance Australia
Phone: (w) 02 6239 9208, (m) 0420 499 163 (m)
Email: policy@stjohn.org.au.

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