The Government has appointed brain disease expert Laurence Geller as the new ministerial adviser on concussion in sport, it has been announced.
The move comes after concerns that sporting bodies were not doing enough to protect athletes from suffering long term brain injuries.
According to the Government, Mr Geller – a leading expert in dementia care and a pioneer in bringing technology to bespoke dementia care facilities – will work with stakeholders to help develop a set of actions that seek to reduce concussion-related issues arising from sports.
This includes accelerating action by national Governing Bodies to strengthen concussion research, working with sport, education and health authorities on their concussion protocols, and maximising the use of technological advances and driving innovation to improve safe participation in sport.
Commenting on the appointment, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Sport should be safe for everyone, whether at elite or grassroots level. We want to learn from both the past and the latest scientific evidence to make sure proper protections are in place, including improving awareness around preventing and managing concussion.”
Mr Geller added: “I am honoured and delighted to have the opportunity to work with ministers from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in their efforts to tackle the crucial issue of concussion in sport. I care passionately about this subject and will do everything I can to help make all of our sports as safe as possible for participants of all ages and levels.”
“I am looking forward to working with people from across the sporting landscape – and beyond – to find ways to protect both players and sports to ensure everyone can enjoy taking part in sport safely.”
The report follows news that heading in professional football will be limited to 10 “higher force” headers a week in training.
The new rules are being introduced in response to a 2019 study which found that professional footballers were more likely to suffer from neurodegenerative brain disease than the general population.