The potential dangers of head injuries are increasingly recognised in the world of sport. Against this backdrop, Dollar Academy has become one of the first schools in the country to back sportscotland’s guidelines on the issue by including the key piece of advice – ‘If in doubt, sit them out’ – on their first XV rugby strips.
“We have a responsibility to create the safest player environment possible,” said Don Caskie, Dollar’s head of rugby. “[This includes] coaching correct technique, providing first class pitch side care, injury monitoring and managing the rehabilitation and recovery process.
“Concussion recognition and management is vital. ‘If in doubt, sit them out’ sums up the importance of recognising the signs, not taking a chance and doing the right thing every single time. By following these guidelines and spreading this important message, we can help to ensure Dollar pupils have long and safe careers both at school and beyond.”
sportscotland’s ‘If in doubt, sit them out’ approach – supported by the Scottish FA, Scottish Rugby and Scottish Hockey – states that anyone with a suspected concussion should be immediately removed from play.
“This is especially important in school environments,” explained sportscotland’s Jonathan Hanson, “because young adults with concussion need to be handled more conservatively than adults, as their brains are still developing.”
John Barclay captained Dollar Academy’s first XV before going on to become a Scotland international.
“When pupils are performing at a high level there is a temptation to push through injuries to get a win at all costs,” he said. “With attitudes like this prominent in contact sport, it is so important that coaches follow Dollar’s lead and take responsibility for player welfare.”