LEADING Australian neurologist Dr Paul McCrory has joined forces with medical officials from the NFL, FIFA and other sports organisations to look at better ways to identify, manage and treat concussions.
Dr McCrory, who sits on the AFL's concussion working group, travelled to New York for a meeting on Sunday and Monday at NFL headquarters.
The AFL's chief medical officer Dr Peter Harcourt, NRL medical boss Dr Ken Crichton and North Queensland Cowboys doctor Chris Ball were also part of the NFL-funded "think tank", as were FIFA's Dr Jiri Dvorak and Dr Martin Raftery of the International Rugby Board.
"This is an exciting development in the science of sports concussion," Dr McCrory said.
"Working with international sports leaders not only benefits athletes in professional sports but amateur participants throughout the world."
Chairman of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee, Dr Rich Ellenbogen, said the various sports organisations "need to look at all variations of what is being done around the world."
"This will change the paradigm," Ellenbogen said of such co-operation among sports.
"This can provide a unique perspective to get people back to health.
"There are a lot of big ideas that can come out of this that resonated with all the leagues that may have not come up if they had done it in isolation."
Handling concussions was a major topic at the recently-concluded World Cup in Brazil.
In the wake of FIFA being criticised during the tournament for not effectively policing concussions, Dvorak insisted that the team doctor has final say over players returning to action after an apparent head injury.
He promised that FIFA would make it clear who is in charge if a player is suspected to be concussed.
"There is a controversy about overruling the decision of the team doctor," he said.
"From FIFA's side, we will strengthen the position of the team doctor, as we did already in the past."
More meetings are planned, perhaps as soon as later this year.