It is with great pleasure that the Shannon Clinic – Melbourne Chiropractic and Sports Care is able to announce the publication of a pivotal paper authored by Dr. Shannon and Dr. Jon Patricios titled “Sport Related Concussion: Critically assessing the comprehension, collaboration and contribution of chiropractors“. This paper explores the current understanding and contribution of chiropractors to sport related concussion (SRC) as well as the potential role the upper cervical spine may play in SRC.

The impetus for the paper was born out of emerging evidence that SRC in the athletic population may involve injury to the upper cervical spine either as a comorbid condition with a head impact or in isolation where a head impact is absent. This creates an opportunity for chiropractors, who are well versed in treating upper cervical spine injuries; especially whiplash disorders to be involved with the multi-disciplinary team in the assessment, diagnosis and management of SRC.

With such a positive opportunity presented for the chiropractic profession, Dr. Shannon and Dr. Patricios set about understanding where chiropractors currently sit with their knowledge, understanding and clinical/research contributions to SRC, how the cervical spine may contribute to some of the more common symptoms seen post concussion, and what chiropractors need to do to step up into this space. As co author, Dr. Patricios was well suited to assist in this process; Dr. Patricios is a sports medicine physician working with athletes in SRC, an advisor to World Rugby, a panellist on the Concussion in Sport Group (CISG), a member of the CISG consensus paper, an author/co-author on multiple SRC papers in the athletic population.

Their paper found that although chiropractors have a wonderful opportunity to create a niche role for themselves as experts in assessment, diagnosing and treating upper cervical spine injuries in SRC, chiropractors currently have suboptimal knowledge compared to their peers; there is an absence of structured formal SRC training and education programs; the profession is lagging in contributions to SRC research in the athletic population, as well as contributions to the consensus process within the CISG compared to other professions.

It is hoped this paper draws attention to the opportunity that is currently in front of chiropractors whilst helping to highlight the changes the profession requires to be able to take that next step to join the multi-disciplinary sports medicine team in the assessment and management of SRC in the athletic population. The next steps in Dr. Shannon and Dr. Patricios’s eyes are for the profession to develop an official SRC consensus statement; formulating educational and training programs at an undergraduate and postgraduate tertiary level which are in line with other professions including physiotherapy, athletic trainers and sports medicine; increasing their involvement in research and contributions to the CISG. You can find out more on the whiplash and concussion services available at the Shannon Clinic – Melbourne Chiropractic and Sports Care here. If you are interested to learn more about the longer term effects of head impacts Melbourne city sports chiropractor worked with Jon to put together an update look at the evidence on chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Access to the paper can be found here at the Chiropractic and Manual Therapies Journal.