Cycling is a recreational activity that seems to have increased in popularity, especially during recent months with many people riding bikes as a way to increase exercise and activity during the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions.
However, while there is nothing quite like the freedom of two wheels (as an avid cyclist, I’m a big advocate for riding your bike) safety must come first, as concussions are no laughing matter.
A concussion is a serious and growing public health issues, with cycling representing one the highest incident rates – the tricky part is knowing exactly what the symptoms of a concussion are and how serious it actually is.
In response to this, world-leading concussion experts at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and Melbourne’s The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), in partnership with the AFL, have developed the HeadCheck app, which aims to help individuals recognise the symptoms of a suspected concussion and help measure its seriousness.
“We know that for many families, jumping on their bikes during lockdown became a fantastic way of keeping active and strengthening family bonds,” says Head of Clinical Sciences at MCRI, Professor Vicki Anderson.
“We encourage everyone to continue cycling and we’re happy to ‘ride-along’ in a parent’s pocket, just in case.”
The HeadCheck app also provides support for parents during these stressful situations, advising parents whether and when they need to visit the hospital or their family doctor.
Additionally, the app also guides parents on when it’s safe to send children back to school, training and racing, and also records the patient’s symptoms when parents need to give a medical history.
‘Committed to making participation in cycling safe’
Jumping on the wheel of the HeadCheck app, Cycling Australia (CA) has also partnered with the MCRI to provide access to the app.
“Cycling Australia is committed to making participation in cycling as safe and enjoyable as possible,” says CA’s General Manager – Sport, Kipp Kaufmann.
“Especially for recreation and at the junior sporting levels, cycling is a safe and fun activity and we believe giving parents every extra tool available is another positive step in ensuring safe participation.”
CA members, parents, coaches, event organisers and commissaires are encouraged to download the free HeadCheck app so that everyone can have access to the best evidence-based child concussion education and advice.
Information on the use of the HeadCheck app is now included as part of the CA coaching courses.