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SLUMP    SWAY    SLOW    STUN    and    SLUR

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Watch our video on the Concussion Big 5 for younger players. Learn about each sign to look out for in the event of a direct or indirect head impact. 

Remember, concussion is not always a loss of consciousness or knock-out - SLUMP - look out for the other 4 signs of SWAY, SLOW, STUN and SLUR.

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What are the Concussion Big 5?

Everyone attending community sporting matches is being encouraged to make themselves aware of the five key signs of concussion: Slump, Sway, Slow, Stun and Slur. The Concussion Big 5 is an initiative of Macquarie University and the Australian Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Biobank, in partnership with Sydney FC to raise awareness of the signs of concussion.







Dr Rowena Mobbs, Macquarie University neurologist and Director of the Australian CTE Biobank, says five tell-tale signs of concussion can appear immediately after an incident. “Most people associate concussion with a loss of consciousness, but there are other important neurological signs that are obvious to anyone watching, like the player falling to the ground, walking in an unsteady or slow fashion, appearing to be stunned or dazed, or slurring their words,” Dr Mobbs says. “These early warning signs may be more effective at detecting concussion than the symptoms that appear later, as these symptoms can vary widely between individuals, may be undisclosed, or may be delayed, even by as long as weeks.


“Essentially, we need everyone at a game to start thinking like a neurologist, including the family members and friends watching from the sidelines, coaches, referees, and the players themselves.

“People of all ages are at risk of concussion, and early detection means injured players can get the care they need as soon as possible.”






Concussion is a common cause of hospitalisation in athletes in Australia, and can occur in all codes of football, hockey, netball, extreme sports, equestrian, surf lifesaving, cycling, and other contact and collision environments.


Advocates representing a range of sports have come together to help spread with word on the Concussion Big 5, including former NRL players James Graham and James McManus, former rugby union international player Michael Lipman, Australian international football player and Sydney FC Captain Alex Wilkinson, former Australian rugby union representative Kirby Sefo, former AFL player Matthew ‘Maxy’ Kennedy, and Eshia McManus, the wife of former NRL player James McManus.




“In the past, players have been encouraged to think of concussion as part and parcel of playing contact sport, but it’s a type of brain injury and it should be taken very seriously,”


Dr Mobbs says. “Multiple concussions can have a cumulative effect, and down the track, players can end up with serious and ongoing effects, including cognitive and behavioural problems, chronic headache, and mental health concerns.

“In the most severe cases, this results in a diagnosis of dementia called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). “It’s important not only to prevent concussion from occurring wherever possible, but to ensure concussed players are following the relevant guidelines and not returning to the field too soon after an injury.”



Know the Concussion Big 5

Slump: lying motionless, unconscious or knocked out

Sway: appearing wobbly, unsteady or falling over

Slow: walking slowly, wandering or delayed movements

Stun: appearing confused or stunned or behaving unusually

Slur: slurred or slow speech, or responding poorly

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