28 Feb 2019

Grade 10 sports safety advocate for brain injuries

By Michelle Petersen, grade 10
Photograph by CIS Communications

For my personal project this year, I investigated sports-related concussions with an aim to propose a standard concussion protocol between teachers in the PE and sports departments. In addition to doing extensive research, I also attended the Level 1 First Aid in Rugby course hosted by the Singapore Rugby Union in conjunction with World Rugby.

I was inspired to focus my project on this topic because of my personal experience with sports-related concussions from playing contact rugby. CIS provides a well-rounded programme with opportunities and facilities for students to excel in PE classes and/or extra-curricular sports at competitive and developmental levels. In any sport or PE class, the safety of students and athletes should [always] be paramount. Therefore, I believe that all CIS students should be well protected and have access to the appropriate aid treatment for injuries such as head injuries.

To achieve my goal of increasing awareness of sports-related concussions and mandatory protocols, I hosted a seminar for primary and secondary PE teachers and teacher-coaches for rugby, football and basketball at CIS. As a CIS student, rugby player, and victim of 2 concussions, I believe that hosting a seminar to further educate PE and teacher-coaches was the right step towards building a safer community that promotes student and athlete welfare. This seminar highlighted the severity and risk of concussions, signs and symptoms of concussion to watch out for as well as the standard protocol to put in place at CIS.

In addition to the seminar, I also organised a SCAT baseline testing for the U16 boys’ contact rugby team. This was conducted by Merianne Selvaraj, medical manager of the Singapore Rugby Union. The baseline testing allows for the comparison of the player’s brain function before and after a suspected concussion. These test results allow doctors, who specialise in concussions, to develop a unique recovery outline for the individual case.

Actions like these put CIS on the forefront of concussion awareness, education, and safety. My next steps will involve making baseline testing a requirement for all rugby players in CIS, and ensuring that PE staff and coaches at CIS are well aware of the standard protocol for concussions.