Outside of my academic role at BU, I also have a voluntary role as Head of Medical at the International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football (https://www.ifcpf.com/organisation). I took over this position earlier in the year, and part of my remit was to look at concussion in the game. This is of particular interest to me as my PhD (and a lot of my research since then) has been focused on concussion in sport.
There has been a lot of discussion about bringing in temporary concussion substitutes into mainstream football and FIFA/UEFA have been under a lot of focus for this. The idea behind temporary concussion substitutions is to allow clinicians time to assess a player at the side of the pitch, without putting both the injured player and clinician under pressure to make a rushed decision regarding their return to play.
To date, there haven’t been any rule changes in the mainstream version of football. However earlier this month I was able to lead on the introduction of temporary concussion substitutions in Cerebral Palsy Football:
This is a big step forwards for football as a whole, and hopefully will lead other (larger!) sports federations to follow. The temporary concussion substitution policy was created with player input and shaped by the IFCPF Medical Committee. We are already in discussions with the International Blind Sports Federation to bring about a similar rule for Blind Football, and hopefully in 2020 there will be more examples of rule changes like this to benefit players in all forms of football (and other sports).
Last year was the first year of a new Level 6 unit on the Physiotherapy programme called “Innovation in Physiotherapy”, and as unit lead I was keen to encourage the students to appraise smartphone apps in healthcare. Much of my research to date has been looking at “eHealth” (electronic health) and I was keen for them to have more awareness of these growing forms of healthcare adjuncts.
The students worked in groups to select their apps and then present their app reviews to the class, and following this they were encouraged to write up their app reviews and submit them for publication. I am happy to say that along with Adam Arthur, Alastair Bolton, Alex Evens and Philip Slemon, we have had our app review (“World Rugby Concussion’ by World Rugby Limited: a smartphone application for the general public”) published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine (Impact factor 6.724). This is my first co-creation paper with students since arriving at BU, and hopefully this process can be replicated in future years in the unit.
The article can be found at:
Last week I was lucky enough to be able to present at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport in Monaco. The conference is held every three years and the setting was very prestigious. There were over 1,200 participants there from all corners of the globe and a lot of the major figures in sports medicine and sports physiotherapy were there. On the first day I was part of a panel presenting called “Tweeting, liking, following, sharing: enhancing the protection of athletes’ health now and in the future”, for which I summarised my PhD research and expanded upon its implications. Day 2 of the conference saw myself and my co-authors present the poster shown in the photo, which relates to my work conducted in the field of disability football.
Overall it was a fantastic experience to be able to present at a conference such as this and I felt very fortunate to be able to connect with some very experienced and knowledgeable clinicians and researchers at the event. Hopefully this will lead to further research collaborations!
Our poster on concussion knowledge and opinions of medical staff working in disability football
In the past week I have had two publications accepted which are both linked to my research areas of social media and healthcare.
The first was the main study from my PhD which has taken 4 years to get published after being rejected by three journals! This is in the Journal of Athletic Training and summarises a feasibility study of a Facebook concussion intervention called “iCon” or interactive concussion management.
The second is in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) in their new “infographic” section and was modified from our previous BJSM editorial (, McCrory P, Sullivan SJ. Top tips for social media use in sports and exercise medicine: doing the right thing in the digital age.
Both of these publications are timely as on Thursday I am due to present at the International Olympic Committee ~World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport in Monaco (http://www.ioc-preventionconference.org/?page_id=1188). I will be leaning heavily on both of these papers in our symposium when I discuss the use of social media to deliver healthcare interventions in sports and exercise medicine.
- Ahmed OH, Schneiders AG, McCrory PR, Sullivan SJ. Sport Concussion Management Using Facebook: A Feasibility Study of an Innovative Adjunct ‘‘iCon’’. Journal of Athletic Training 2017;52(2):(in press-awaiting page numbers).
- Ahmed OH, Weiler R, Schneiders AG, McCrory PR, Sullivan SJ. Infographic: Top Social Media Tips for Sports and Exercise Medicine Practitioners. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2017;(in press).
In the past few weeks, I have been involved in two publications in the field of disability sports medicine that have been accepted for publication. The first is in Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, and explored the differences in baseline concussion scores between athletes with and without disability (http://journals.lww.com/cjsportsmed/Abstract/publishahead/Do_Neurocognitive_SCAT3_Baseline_Test_Scores.99486.aspx). This study demonstrated that traditional ways of testing for concussion in athletes that already have a disability are flawed, and is part of a larger PhD study which is evaluating this area.
The second study (which is not yet available online) was accepted by the journal “PM&R”, and is titled “Medication and supplement use in disability football world championships”. This builds on the work of one of the co-authors on this (Phillipe Tscholl), who has conducted extensive research into the overprescription of medications in elite sport (http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/9/e007608). Findings from our study were consistent with previous work in the area, and indicated that there were very high rates of prescribing anti-inflammatory medications.
Osman Ahmed, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
Dr Carol Bond (Principal Academic Digital Health) and Dr Osman Ahmed (Lecturer in Physiotherapy) have recently had their work on online health information sharing published in the Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics.
Building upon their prior work on online communities, this study took a qualitative approach to explore the information shared by online discussion boards and how users shared this information. The study used diabetes forums as an exam, with key findings showing that much of the information sharing came from experience (including sharing their experiences from interactions with healthcare professionals). Drs Bond and Ahmed are now developing this work further by exploring similar patterns using other social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc).
This paper is available online at:
Bond, CS; Ahmed, OH. Can I help you? Information sharing in online discussion forums by people living with a long-term condition. Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics, 2016;23(3):620-626.
Congratulations go to Debbie Neal, physiotherapy lecturer in HSS, for her recent appearance in the Frontline Journal (the professional magazine of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy). Debbie was interviewed in relation to her post as the training and evaluation lead for the South Somerset Symphony programme. The article is also available online at:
We are fortunate enough to have someone as experienced as Debbie within our team here at BU, and its great that her leadership role is being recognised by Frontline!
I’ve been a bit slow in uploading an introduction the BU research blog but wanted to say thanks to everyone for making feel at home at BU. I’ve been in the role of physiotherapy lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences for about 2 months now and am enjoying it greatly so far.
My clinical background is as a physiotherapist, and I have worked both locally (at Poole Hospital and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital) and internationally (in New Zealand). As well as working at BU, I am also currently working at Poole Hospital NHS Trust as an outpatient physiotherapist, and with the Football Association with their disability football squads. My work in this field is due to take me to Rio De Janeiro in September for the 2016 Paralympic Games.
My main areas of research interest are eHealth/mHealth, sports concussion, and disability sport. I was lucky enough to do my PhD at the University of Otago in New Zealand, where my thesis centred upon the use of Facebook to assist the return to play following sports-concussion. I am looking forwards to helping to educate the next generation of physiotherapists to be forward-thinking and able to cope with the demands of an ever-changing world.
Being Dorset born and bred, I am very proud to be working at BU at this exciting time for the university. I hope that BU can mirror the development of AFC Bournemouth (where I have a season ticket) with regards to reaching new heights and levels of success!