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A concussion is a common head injury, also known as a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI). It is an injury that is caused by the brain being shaken around inside the skull after a direct blow to the head, or a sudden jerking of the head or neck when the body is hit. There is a misconception that you have to be knocked out to sustain a concussion, when in fact any contact to the head or body that causes rapid head movement can cause a concussion.

Symptoms of a Concussion**:
  • Decreased Concentration – May have the inability to think or remember recent events. May appear dazed or stunned. People usually describe themselves as being ‘foggy’ or have a ringing in the ears.
  • Vision problems – May have blurry, double vision or “see stars”. Light sensitivity is also common.
  • Emotional Changes – May be irritable, sad, or nervous. Athletes with severe concussions may show unusual emotions, a personality change or inappropriate behaviour.

An athlete who has had one concussion is more likely to have another than an athlete who hasn’t been concussed

– Hard Facts about Concussions, Ithaca College

 Recovering from a Concussion

  • Get some rest: It is one of the best things you can do to help your brain recover; and when we say rest, we say both physical and cognitive rest. The new concussion consensus indicates that concussed individuals should rest for the first 24-48 hours and then have a gradual and progressive reintroduction to activity as long as symptoms don’t come back or get worse.
  • Take it slow: Everyone recovers at a different pace, some symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. How quickly you improve depends on many different factors – the severity of the injury, your age, how many concussions you’ve had and how healthy you were before your concussion.
  • Returning to Play: Remember that there is no such thing as a minor head injury; symptoms may become worse with exertion. An athlete should not return to play until cleared by a professional. Recommendations include a graduated and progressive return to play plan should be implemented, after a modified return to school/work program has been successful (this can be done concurrently with return to play).

Concussion is a topic that affects everyone in sport in some way whether you are a coach, athlete, trainer, physician, or director. If you wish to read more information on concussion prevention, symptoms, or recovery there are a lot of resources available to the sport community.

Here are a few links to get you started:

**This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, anyone that is suspected to have a concussion should always be seen by a medical professional.


COVASSIN T, ELBIN R, SARMIENTO K. Educating Coaches About Concussion in Sports: Evaluation of the CDC’s ‘Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports’ Initiative. Journal of School Health. May 2012;82(5):233-238.

Harmon K, Drezner J, Roberts W, et al. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine position statement: concussion in sport. British Journal of Sports Medicine. January 2013;47(1):15-26.

King D, Brughelli M, Hume P, Gissane C. Assessment, Management and Knowledge of Sport-Related Concussion: Systematic Review. Sports Medicine. April 2014;44(4):449-471.

Meehan W, Mannix R, O’Brien M, Collins M. The Prevalence of Undiagnosed Concussions in Athletes. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. September 2013;23(5):339-342.

Mihalik J, Lengas E, Register-Mihalik J, Oyama S, Begalle R, Guskiewicz K. The Effects of Sleep Quality and Sleep Quantity on Concussion Baseline Assessment. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. September 2013;23(5):343-348.

The information presented in SIRC blogs and SIRCuit articles is accurate and reliable as of the date of publication. Developments that occur after the date of publication may impact the current accuracy of the information presented in a previously published blog or article.