Concussions are the most common form of head injury caused by an impact or forceful motion of the head or other part of the body, resulting in rapid movement of the brain within the skull.
Concussions can occur while participating in any sport or recreational activity. Since the circumstances under which a concussion can be sustained are so varied, it’s important for all coaches, parents, and athletes to be aware of the signs, symptoms, and what to do if a concussion occurs.
How can I learn more about recognizing, responding to, and managing concussions?
- Best practice guidelines on recognizing, responding, and managing concussions can be found at CATT online
What if I think someone might have a concussion?
Do you need to quickly assess a potential concussion? If you do, follow the CATT online Concussion Pathway: https://cattonline.com/catt-concussion-pathway/
If a person has a suspected concussion, they should NOT return to sport or activity and should be seen by a medical professional and/or monitored for delayed symptoms for 48 hours.
Returning to sport after a concussion
It is important that the athlete has successfully returned to school or work before fully returning to sports or other physical activity. Returning to physical activity too early may result in more severe or potentially long-term problems. If the athlete is a student, a primary focus on return to school has been shown to lead to a quicker return to sport. If the athlete is not a student, they should have successfully returned to cognitive aspects of their daily life/work before physical activities.
- The Return to Sport tool will help guide an athlete to return to sport and physical activity, and can be used to communicate their progress to coaches and physical education teachers. The goal of working through the Return to Sport stages is to increase physical activity gradually without exacerbating current symptoms or triggering new symptoms.
How do I find support if I have a concussion?
Find a practitioner to help with your symptoms: SportMedBC has a directory of practitioners who have achieved additional qualifications in sports medicine and meet minimum standards. You can search this directory for a practitioner near you
Information from GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre and Vancouver Coastal Health (Can be adapted for people with light sensitivity):
- Teen athletes: Create a personalized guide and recovery plan to help you manage your specific concussion symptoms
- Adult athletes: Create a personalized guide and recovery plan to help you manage your specific concussion symptoms
If you are experiencing mental health symptoms from a concussion:
- CATT online provides guidance on managing mental health symptoms
- Concussion Ontario also has information on how to identify, get help for, and recover from mental health symptoms
Local Brain Injury Organizations around British Columbia:
- These organizations are very familiar with the range of services available in your community and are excellent sources of support, advice and help in navigating the system
- Concussion Awareness Training Tool: cattonline.com
- CATT Online Return to Sport Tool: https://cattonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/CATT-Return-to-Sport-V11.pdf
- SportMedBC's practitioner directory: https://sportmedbc.com/practitioners
- Vancouver Coastal Health Teen Concussion site: https://teenconcussion.vch.ca/
- Vancouver Coastal Health Concussion site: https://concussion.vch.ca/myguide
- Local brain injury organizations: https://www.brainstreams.ca/resources/rehab-community-support-services/brain-injury-organizations/