Specialist Sport & Exercise Physician
DR PAUL BLOOMFIELD
ABOUT DR PAUL BLOOMFIELD
Dr Paul Bloomfield is a specialist Sport and Exercise physician and is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP).
He has extensive experience with various sports and has been involved with numerous elite and professional teams.
Dr Bloomfield was the Chief Medical Officer for the National Rugby League (NRL) for 6 years, from 2015 to 2021 (April), during which time he developed and implemented numerous policies to improve the safety and welfare of players. This included the NRL's Concussion policies for both the elite and community competitions. Dr Bloomfield also played a major role in developing the NRL's concussion research, including the ongoing past player research into the potential effects of head injuries in later life. He was also the Chief Medical Officer of the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) in 2017.
Dr Bloomfield was the team doctor/chief medical officer for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles NRL rugby league team for 13 years (2000 - 2012). He was the team doctor for the Northern Spirit NSL soccer club throughout its entire history. He has also worked extensively with the Australian Men’s Volleyball Team and was the assistant medical officer for the St. George rugby league team prior to joining Manly and returned to the St George Illawarra Dragons NRL team for 2013 as their consultant sports physician/shared team doctor. Other sport coverage has included numerous Brooks Triathlon series at Kurnell, mountain bike and skateboard competitions, the Australian Men's volleyball team and the Soccer Australia senior men’s team.
Dr Bloomfield was on the medical panel of the WSL (World Surfing league; formerly the ASP - Association of Surfing Professionals) and has previously worked with SOAR (Sports Orthopaedics And Rehabilitation) providing injury and medical management to coal mines on the south coast and southern highlands of NSW.
For more than 20 years Dr Bloomfield has been assisting orthopaedic surgeons at the Mater Hospital in Crows Nest. His primary assisting is with knee arthroscopic and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions as well as knee replacement surgery. He has also assisted with shoulder/upper limb, hip and foot/ankle surgery.
Individual Management of Concussion
Dr Paul Bloomfield is a Specialist Sport and Exercise Physician with a strong interest and many years of experience with sport related concussion. During 27 years of professional sport involvement, he has seen and managed many concussions; he has also seen the significant evolution in the management of concussions over this period. Improving the identification and management of concussion at all levels of sport is a passion of his. Dr Bloomfield also strongly believes that all those involved in sport and in the identification and management of concussion need to be well informed and educated on the topic. In this regard, he has assisted with Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) and Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP) education events.
Concussion is a brain injury. It is classed as a type of mild traumatic brain injury (mild TBI) without obvious structural injury to the brain such as bleeding or bruising. Concussion is also an evolving injury with symptoms and signs that can come and go and improve or deteriorate over time. Many of these symptoms and signs are not specific to concussion and more significant injuries such as brain bleeds must initially be considered.
It is currently thought that the concussion resolves spontaneously over time. However, how long the brain takes to fully recover is not completely known. What is known is that with appropriate supervised management the effects of concussion can be minimised, and the acute condition should resolve spontaneously in most cases in a predictable time frame of less than 2 weeks in adults and less than 4 weeks for children and adolescents (18 years old and younger).
Individualised management of each patient and each concussion is important as no two concussions are exactly the same. Initial rest (physical and mental) for 48 hours following a suspected concussion is however an important component of all concussion management. Adherence to this can help reduce the recovery period as exacerbation of concussion symptoms early on may lead to a prolonged recovery time-frame.
Repeated concussions or those occurring more easily or frequently over time should also be managed more conservatively; there is ongoing debate and research within the medical community (and played out in the media) about the exact risks and causes of potential long-term brain injuries such as CTE and other degenerative brain conditions and these conditions do need to be appropriately considered by all sports at all levels of participation.
Therefore education of all patients about the risks of their individual circumstances is something that should always be discussed in the individual management of their concussion.