Former pupil and Scotland rugby player John Barclay with some of the Dollar rugby team
Former pupil and Scotland rugby player John Barclay with some of the Dollar rugby team

Dollar Academy tackles concussion with SportScotland

Dollar Academy has become one of the first schools in Scotland to support SportScotland’s guidelines on the early management of sporting head injury.

They are including the ‘If in the doubt, sit them out’ logo on their first XV rugby strips.

The independent school’s commitment to the SportScotland initiative is one of several measures the school has implemented to improve awareness and treatment of sports injuries. The school has also recently become one of the first in Scotland to partner with Return2Play, the UK’s leading sports injury management provider for schools and clubs.

Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce uniform head injury guidelines that cover a wide range of sports. Sport Scotland’s ‘If in doubt, sit them out’ approach, which is supported by the Scottish FA, Scottish Rugby and Scottish Hockey, states that anyone with a suspected concussion should be immediately removed from play.

Jonathan Hanson, sports physician at Sport Scotland, explained: ‘We still know relatively little about concussion so, whilst research is ongoing, it is so important that organisations such as Dollar Academy take up this initiative. It promotes accurate, early management of head injuries. This is especially important in school environments because young adults with concussion need to be handled more conservatively than adults as their brains are still developing.”

Edinburgh Rugby and Scotland international player John Barclay attended Dollar Academy and captained the school’s first XV rugby team.

He said: ‘Throughout my professional career, I’ve witnessed the importance of rest and rehabilitation after a concussion so it’s amazing to hear that Dollar Academy has embraced the “If it in doubt, sit them out” guidelines.

Former pupil and Scotland rugby player John Barclay with some of the Dollar rugby team

‘When pupils are performing at a high level there is a temptation to push through injuries to get a win at all costs. With attitudes like this prominent in contact sport, it is so important that coaches follow Dollar’s lead and take responsibility for player welfare.’

The new measures implemented by Dollar Academy take a comprehensive approach to sports coaching, where player wellbeing takes priority over team success.

Don Caskie, head of rugby at Dollar Academy, said: ‘Player welfare is the single most important factor that underpins the whole rugby programme here at Dollar. We have a responsibility to create the safest player environment possible, from coaching correct technique, providing first class pitch side care, injury monitoring and managing the rehabilitation and recovery process.

‘Concussion recognition and management is vital.

‘ “If in doubt, sit them out” sums up the importance of recognising the signs, not taking a chance and doing the right thing every single time. By following these guidelines and spreading this important message, we can help to ensure Dollar pupils have long and safe careers both at school and beyond.’

For further information about Dollar Academy, visit