Our brain is our most valuable commodity. When we discuss ‘Brain Health’ we describe how we can best look after our brain, just like we are all aware of a healthy lifestyle being good for our heart. Physical things like checking your hearing, blood sugar and blood pressure, eating well, while getting regular exercise are all good for your brain. Making sure you manage your mental health, avoiding stress, managing anxiety and depression, while avoiding social isolation are all similarly important.
There are 12 known modifiable risk factors to be aware of that feed into our individual brain health, meaning we can change them for the better. A few examples of these include physical activity, depression, loneliness and high blood pressure. Lancet 2020 paper on modifiable risk factors is found here
Training and playing rugby encourage many of the ‘protective activities’ for your brain. When we stop playing however, we lose many of the physical health and social benefits of physical activity in a team environment. Rugby is a contact sport and head impact and concussion events can also occur. These need to be managed properly ensuring recovery and preventing re-injury.
World Rugby is working hard to improve measures directed towards prevention, research, education and practice around the particular risk factor of brain injury. As a community, we work hard to prevent unnecessary head impacts. World Rugby’s wider commitment to brain health includes free brain health clinics, to provide players and former players with access to expert consultation, advice, and clinical assessment to ensure good brain health management.
In this video, leading independent experts Professor Willie Stewart, Dr Craig Ritchie, Dr Fiona Wilson, and Karen BK Chan explain how current and former players can better understand the 12 known modifiable risk factors that feed into our individual brain health, doing everything we can to support long-term brain health and reduce known risks that can be positively changed through our actions.
For more information and resources on Brain Health please visit the Brain Health Scotland website here