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It’s important to know and follow your sport’s protocol whenever a suspected concussion occurs. Thanks to strong Canadian leadership and collaboration, sport protocols are harmonized in their approach to concussion. This means there is a consistent approach for managing concussion in all sports.

SIRC, along with key national partners and supported by the Government of Canada, created four easy steps to help participants follow protocol, no matter the sport being played:

Step #1: Recognize the signs & symptoms

To help identify concussion in children, adolescents and adults, the Concussion Recognition Tool 6 © is the definitive guide. Tip: This document can be printed for coaches and on-site staff at sport events.


The concussion recognition tool 6

Step #2: Remove the athlete from play

In all suspected cases of concussion, the athlete should stop playing and should not return until further assessment. Continuing to play increases their risk of more severe, longer-lasting concussion symptoms and increases the risk of other injury.

Soccer players, text reads we are headstrong


Step #3: Refer to a licensed healthcare professional

Many sport medicine clinics and concussion clinics offer concussion management and treatment. Before you choose one, do some homework and check for these 4 characteristics of a good concussion clinic.


When seeing a licensed healthcare professional, it can be helpful to use concussion-specific letter templates:

The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 6 (SCAT6) is a standardized tool for evaluating concussions designed for use by physicians and licensed healthcare professionals.

For children aged 12 years or younger, it’s recommended using the Child SCAT6.

Step #4: Return to play

The amount of time it takes to return to work, school, or sport looks different for everyone. But there are evidence-based strategies available, courtesy of Parachute Canada:

For athletes:


For sport organizations:

Additional Resources – For Organizations

  • From a concussion awareness app to team meeting tools, Hockey Canada’s toolbox is a one-stop-shop for athletes, parents, coaches, officials and administrators.
  • The Play Safe Injury Tracker is an innovative, web-enabled platform to simplify injury surveillance for sport and recreation organizations.

Additional Resources – For Parents & Athletes

  • Developed by experts at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, the Concussion & You Handbook is aimed at guiding children and parents through managing concussions.

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Last updated on July 31, 2023