Concussion Campaign Makes Sport Safer for Canadians
Online Hub Offers New Tools for Athletes, Parents, Coaches and Officials
OTTAWA, June 8th, 2018 – A powerful public awareness campaign is helping to prevent concussions in Canadian sport and to manage them better when they occur.
“We are HEADSTRONG” is a national initiative led by the Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC), with funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Sport Canada. The campaign uses powerful messaging, eye-catching images and authentic storytelling to help Canadians avoid and treat concussions.
Another key partner in the project is Parachute, a national charity dedicated to reducing the impact of preventable injuries. Parachute has been working with national sport organizations to ensure sport concussion protocols are adopted or updated to align with the official Canadian Guideline.
The centrepiece of the HEADSTRONG campaign is an online hub (www.sirc.ca/concussion) that is fast becoming the “go to” Canadian resource on concussions and sport. It features the latest Canadian and international research as well as a suite of templates and sample products to help sport organizations at any level.
“Our goal is to protect young athletes from the risks of concussion by making Canadians aware of what we call ‘the 4 Rs,’” noted SIRC President and CEO, Debra Gassewitz. “Recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion; Remove the athlete from the game or practice; Refer the athlete to a healthcare professional; and Return to school and then to sport based on the recommendations of a physician.”
First launched last June, the website has been recently updated with new content, more tools, and a series of success stories that highlight the practical ways that leading Canadian sport organizations are adopting concussion protocols and using campaign materials to make sport safer for their athletes. The next phase of the campaign will feature a dynamic social media campaign, a series of webinars, and testimonials from athletes, coaches, parents and officials who have benefited from campaign materials.
Another new feature is a short online survey that asks Canadians involved in sport to share what they are doing to prevent and properly manage concussions, and to seek input about how to continue to strengthen the campaign.
“I think of the 4 Rs as the ‘stop, drop and roll’ of concussion management,” added Gassewitz. “We continue to beat that drum at every opportunity. It’s vital information that every Canadian needs to know because concussion can affect anyone at any time.”
Rugby Canada is one of several national sport organizations (NSO) taking advantage of the resources available through the HEADSTRONG campaign website. “Like other NSOs, we know our sport, but we may not have the knowledge, capacity or expertise in areas like concussion,” says Paul Hunter, Director of National Development with Rugby Canada. “We’re encouraging our athletes to play more than one sport, which means that all sports should be pushing for consistent policies and practices on concussions. That’s why SIRC is so important, because it gives us access to all the tools and information we need.”
- Just like any other injury, the overwhelming majority of people fully recover from a concussion when it’s properly identified and managed – the earlier the better.
- Concussions represent 30% of all traumatic brain injuries sustained by children and youth.
- Concussion symptoms can appear even days after injury.
- Only about 10% of concussions involve loss of consciousness.
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President and Chief Executive Officer
Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC)