The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

From playgrounds to international podiums, millions of Canadians participate in sport every day. While the health and social benefits of participating in sport far outweigh any potential risks, there are risks of injury. Whether you’re a coach, administrator, parent or athlete, we all have a role to play in ensuring sport is as safe as possible, and in the event of an injury, that athlete recovery is prioritized.

The reality of concussions is that, just like any other injury, the overwhelming majority of people fully recover from a concussion when it is properly identified and managed – the earlier the better. The biggest problem is a failure to recognize and respect a concussion injury as seriously as we do other injuries. That must change.

In light of new research on concussion identification and management, the Federal

Government through the Public Health Agency of Canada and Sport Canada, along with Provincial and Territorial Governments, have created a thorough, science-based framework, “Concussion in Sport – Framework for Action”. Out of that framework, Parachute developed the Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport. SIRC has been a partner in the process since the beginning and has been tasked with creating a communications plan for the Framework.

This Friday, June 8th, that plan is being put into action at the Canadian Sport Concussion Workshop hosted by SIRC, together with Sport Canada and Parachute, at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. The workshop will highlight the leadership and coordinated efforts by the sport sector to increase the effective identification and management of concussions.

The workshop will include:

  • An update by Parachute on the Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport;
  • Discussion of the opportunities, challenges and gaps surrounding the implementation of the guidelines and of the Framework for Action on Concussions;
  • Highlights of best practices being implemented and adopted by national and provincial/territorial sport organizations; and
  • A sneak peak into the new concussion awareness and adoption campaign toolkit.

A crucial element to solving the concussion problem is education. The more people who know about concussion, the risks, the recovery and the simple facts, the safer Canadians are. Test your knowledge about concussion with the true or false quiz below.

Concussion: True or False

  1. If you weren’t “knocked out” then you don’t have a concussion. – False. Only about 10 per cent of concussions involve a loss of consciousness.1
  2. A sport participant who has sustained one prior concussion is two to 8.5 times more likely to sustain another concussion. – True2
  3. Any impact to the head, neck or body causing rapid head movement can cause a concussion. – True2
  4. Boys are at higher risk for concussion than girls. – False. Research is showing that among youth, girls have higher rates of concussion than boys participating in the same sport.3
  5. Men and women recover from concussions at the same rate. — False. Females are at higher risk for prolonged recovery from concussion. 3
  6. If there are no instant symptoms right after impact then it is not a concussion – False. Concussion symptoms can appear in the minutes, hours, and even days following injury. 2
  7. Symptoms can be subtle and can evolve over the initial hours following injury. – True2
  8. I can’t get a concussion if I’m wearing a helmet. – False. Helmets are critically important for reducing your risk of serious head injury, but there is no such thing as a concussion-proof helmet. There is no way to keep the brain from moving inside the skull.

Recommended Resources

SIRC Concussion Hub

Concussion in Sport: We Can Do Better, SIRCuit article (2018)

Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport, Parachute

Making Headway eLearning Series, Coaching Association of Canada

Concussion Toolbox, Hockey Canada

Canadian Concussion Collaborative Concussion Resources, Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine

References

1 Meehan, W.P., d’Hemecourt, P., Comstock, D. (2010). High School Concussions in the 2008-2009 Academic Year: Mechanism, Symptoms, and Management.  The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 38(12), 2405-2409.

2 Federal-Provincial-Territorial Workgroup on Concussions in Sport (2017). Concussions in Sport – Framework for Action: Recommendations for Federal-Provincial-Territorial Sport Physical Activity and Recreation Ministers. Toronto, ON: Parachute.

3 Covassin, T., Savage, J.L., Bretzin, A.C., & Fox, M.E. (2017). Sex differences in sport-related concussion long-term outcomes. International Journal of Psychophysiology.

About the author: Thomas Hall is an Olympic bronze medalist who represented Canada for 15 years. He served as interim-Executive Director of AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes. Tom is now managing Game Plan, Canada’s total athlete wellness program, and he is also pleased to be working with SIRC on the Concussion project. He is a writer and Vice President of CanoeKayak Canada.