The 24th Men’s Handball World Championship is kicked off in Qatar on February 15, where 24 national teams will compete to win the precious prize as the best handball team in the world. Being a sport with much physical contact, the prevention and treatment of high speed injuries such as a sprained or twisted ankle receive much focus from team players and staff (e.g.physiologists). However, following the fall‘s campaign“Brug hoved – pas på skallen” (Use your head – watch out for your shell), the Danish handball players will also be alert to the consequences of concussions. The campaign has been conducted in co-operation between the Danish Handball Player Association, the Danish Footballers’ Association, Danish Elite Athletes Association and Center for Rehabilitation of Brain Injury.

It was decided to conduct a campaign after the organizers observed several serious concussion during the Soccer World Championship in Brazil. Danish Handball Player Association, the workers union for all elite handball players in Denmark, has via the campaign informed their members about what symptoms the players should look out for and how a concussion should be treated. Moreover, the associations are urging the players’ employers, the football and handball clubs, to take players’ concussion more seriously. To increase attention, members from these associations who have suffered from a concussion in the past, have been asked to share their story with their colleagues. One of these, is the former professional and national handball player Malene Dalgaard, who after several concussions had yet a concussion over a year ago, which is still causing major complications in her everyday life; going from being an active person training several times a day, she is now only able to watch television two times five minutes a day and study two times ten minutes.

“Brug hoved – pas på skallen” received a lot of focus in the fall 2014, with several stories on the associations’ own homepages and several stories in the major Danish sports news media. Furthermore, the social media channels Facebook and Twitter were also used to spread the message (#brughoved #paspåskallen). The campaign does not have an official end date and the Danish Handball Player Association underlines that it still has a huge focus on concussions and that it will contact its members if they learn that the member has had a concussion, to ensure that he/she is being treated correctly and/or to help with other practical issues such as receiving insurance. Though the Danish Handball Player Association’s focus was on its own members, who are all elite athletes, the association has been contacted by several non-elite athlete.

Few realize how important consequences of a concussion can be, especially if it is not treated or managed correctly. Consequently, it is important that especially organizations with high risk members put focus on this issue, like the Danish associations have done. EBC will be putting more focus on concussion in 2015 and urge all its members to do the same. For more information on the campaign, please contact Kresten Blæsild