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Northern Ireland pupils taught signs and potential dangers of concussion

By Claire Williamson

Published 30/09/2015

Pupils in Northern Ireland are being taught how to spot the signs and dangers of concussion as new lesson plans are introduced in schools.

The new web-based resources will help equip pupils with the knowledge they need to recognise the signs and potential dangers of concussion.

Available in English and Irish the lessons are aimed at Key Stage 1 through to Key Stage 4.

It was launched today at Lagan College in Belfast by Education Minister John O'Dowd.

The Sinn Fein MLA said: "Concussion is a head injury and as such can have serious consequences. The tragic death of Benjamin Robinson in 2011 brought the issue into sharp focus and since then it has been high on my agenda, which is why I launched the Recognise and Remove campaign last year.

“And as a direct and on-going legacy of that campaign I commissioned the Council for Curriculum and Assessment (CCEA) to produce interactive, multi-media lesson plans for teachers. The lesson plans are engaging and provide valuable life-saving information tailored to pupils aged 4-16 with different age appropriate ways for getting the key message across.

"For young and old, the message is simple – if in doubt, sit them out. Never take a chance where someone’s health is concerned."

“With the rugby world cup currently underway the dangers of concussion are a major talking point. All of us from the sporting world and across the field of education must re-double our efforts to highlight this issue to recognise concussion, remove the person affected from the field of play and get them assessed.”

The activities include a quiz to check pupil’s understanding of concussion, how to spot the signs and to encourage them to tell an adult if they or a friend have hit their head.

Fourteen-year-old Ben Robinson was the first person in Northern Ireland to die from second impact syndrome.

An inquest into his death in 2013 heard how the Carrickfergus Grammar School pupil had sustained concussion during a heavy collision with another player but, despite his injury, had played on for a further 25 minutes and was involved in two other clashes.

In the final minutes of the game he fell to the ground unconscious and never recovered. He died in hospital two days later.

Since then, the schoolboy's family have been calling for greater awareness of the dangers of concussion and have met the education authorities as part of their campaign.

Chief Executive of CCEA, Justin Edwards said: “The new Recognise and Remove website developed by CCEA in collaboration with the curriculum team at the Department of Education, is a valuable new resource and will help to raise awareness and knowledge of this important issue among teachers and pupils.

"It provides key information around concussion in a clear and concise way and has been designed to appeal to all age groups.”

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