Concussion educators appointed

Three leading concussion experts to develop free educational resources

Three leading experts in concussion in sport have been appointed by sportscotland to lead a new project to design free concussion education resources for anyone involved in sport in Scotland. 

Dr Katy Stewart and Dr John MacLean from Hampden Sports Clinic will be joined by Dr Stephanie Adams, founder of ConcussEd to deliver the project. 

The three doctors will work alongside Dr Niall Elliott and Dr Jonathan Hanson of the sportscotland institute of sport to develop the resources which will be free for anyone in the Scottish sporting system.  

Building on the guidance

The project will build on the success of the Scottish sports concussion guidance which was a world first when it launched in 2015 bringing together medics, sports, Scottish Government and sportscotland to produce a single concussion policy for all sports. The guidance was updated in 2018 to reflect evolving evidence into head injuries in sport, but the overarching message remained the same: all concussions are serious - if in doubt, sit them out. 

Sports Minister Maree Todd said: “I warmly welcome sportscotland’s appointment of these experts. This is such an important issue, and this project will ensure that more people in Scottish sport are informed of the issues and how best to manage concussion.

"I am pleased that Scotland continues to build on our successful world-leading concussion guidance and the message ’if in doubt, sit them out’.” 

As well as her work with Concuss-Ed, Dr Adams is also an Associate Sport & Exercise Lead for Brain Health Scotland, an Honorary Fellow in Brain Health at the University of Edinburgh, and a member of the Scottish Concussion Advisory Group. She is a psychologist and specialises in areas including concussion education having helped lead the development and evaluation of multiple concussion education programmes in Scotland and globally.  

She explains why she was keen to be involved in this exciting new initiative: “This project is an essential step to expand the brilliant progress that has already been made in Scotland through the national concussion guidance.  

“I am delighted to be involved and look forward to growing an evidence-based approach to the concussion education initiatives across the country, particularly for grassroots and amateur sport, and schools.” 

Joining the project from Hampden Sports Clinic is Dr Katy Stewart who leads on research and education.  Dr Stewart’s role within the clinic includes running cardiac screening for sport in Scotland, the SUPPORT WITHIN SPORT mental health service, as well as holding an Associate role at the University of Glasgow. Katy is also responsible for the National Sports First Aid course which promotes pitch-side safety in grassroots sport, with a special interest in concussion management. 

Dr John MacLean, who will provide additional support to the project, has been a sports medicine doctor for over 30 years. He is Chief Executive of Hampden Sports Clinic, Medical Consultant to the Scottish Football Association and one of the sportscotland Institute of Sport doctors.  Dr MacLean also works with the Commonwealth Games Federation, UEFA, FIFA, the Faculty of Sport & Exercise Medicine and is an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Glasgow. Within these roles, Dr MacLean works to educate those in sport about concussion and provides medical care for athletes following a head injury. 

Dr Stewart and Dr MacLean are responsible for the undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Sport & Exercise Medicine at University of Glasgow.  They are also both part of the FIELD Research Group which has studied the link between professional footballers and dementia. 

Dr Stewart said: “We are both delighted to be part of this exciting new initiative from sportscotland which will develop a variety of educational resources to improve understanding of concussion in grassroots sport.

"This builds on the work already done with The Scottish Sports Concussion Guidance and we are proud to build on Scotland’s excellent reputation in this field.”  

Dr Jonathan Hanson welcomed the appointment of the expert panel: “We are delighted to have recruited such an experienced and motivated group of experts to drive our concussion education project. 

“The development of the concussion guidance with our partners across sport, health, further education and Scottish Government was a significant step forward for awareness and education, however it was only the beginning. Concussion is a brain injury and must be taken seriously. With this new project we aim to reach as many people as possible to ensure they have the tools and training they need to effectively understand and manage concussion in sport.” 

Clubs and collaboration

A growing number of clubs and teams are now displaying the “If in doubt, sit them out’ logo on their kit or at their grounds and this new resource will provide the vital training required for anyone involved in sport to put that message into practice. 

In addition to these developments in Scotland, collaborative work is taking place across the UK which is a welcome step in highlighting the importance of protecting brains in sport. This links with the UK Government and DCMS review of concussion in sport with sportscotland playing its part.  

Find out more

The Scottish sport concussion guidance

ConcussEd's work on improving concussion awareness and education

The work of Hampden Sports Clinic


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