Sports-related concussion (SRC) assessment in road cycling: a systematic review and call to action

Jonathan Elliott, Richard Anderson, Neil Heron, Stephen Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Sports-related concussion (SRC) is a recognised risk in road cycling and can have serious health consequences. Recent high-profile cases of professional road cyclists continuing to participate in races despite suffering obvious SRC have highlighted the difficulties in assessing SRC within road cycling.

Purpose: To undertake a systematic review of the literature on SRC assessment in road cycling.

Study design Systematic review.

Methods: Literature describing SRC assessment in road cycling was identified by searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO and Web of Science. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts for eligibility and a qualitative analysis was undertaken of included studies.

Results: From 94 studies identified, two were included for review. Gordon et al describe the presentation of a single case of paediatric concussion following a cycling crash. They highlight the utility of SRC evaluation using the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) as well as the importance of a stepwise return-to-play protocol. Greve and Modabber discuss a number of traumatic brain injuries that occurred during the 2011 road cycling season and, as a minimum, call for riders to be withdrawn from competition following loss of consciousness or amnesia. Both studies are at high risk of bias and of low quality.

Conclusion: Road cycling poses unique challenges for the assessment of SRC. This review illustrates the lack of published evidence to advise effective means of SRC assessment within road cycling. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) regulations advise the use of SCAT-5 for concussion assessment but this tool is impractical, requiring modification for use in road cycling. We would like to call on the UCI to hold a consensus meeting to establish an evidence-based SRC assessment protocol and return-to-riding protocol for road cycling.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000525
Number of pages5
JournalBMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2019


  • sports-related concussion
  • concussion
  • cycling
  • road cycling


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