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The psychosocial and not just the physical ramifications of a sport-related concussion need to be considered as athletes return to play. Researchers have identified 6 psychosocial factors involved in return to sport: fear of re-injury, status of confidence, impact on identity, sense of support, sense of pressure and one’s experience of concussion.

Safety huddles bring together both teams before the start of a game for coaches to discuss the importance of speaking up if a concussion is suspected. A study with youth soccer teams found that safety huddles increased the likelihood of athletes reporting concussion symptoms. This may be a promising low-resource option to improve concussion safety for sport organizations.

While physical rest is typically recommended in the first 24 to 48 hours following a concussion, rest beyond that period may negatively impact an athlete’s recovery. A Canadian study found that athletes who took more than 3 days to return to physical activity after a concussion took longer to fully return to sport than those who began gradually returning to exercise after just one day post-injury. Coaches, parents and medical practitioners should work together to help athletes safely return to activity after a concussion.

Concussions are common in Para sports such as blind soccer, where collisions between players frequently occur. Research shows that despite the high concussion risk posed in blind soccer, many athletes do not feel confident in their ability to recognize a concussion. Improving concussion education, particularly around concussion symptoms, may help improve concussion recognition in this population.

Concussion recovery can be a challenging time for athletes. Research shows that many athletes report mental health challenges, such as feelings of anxiety or depression during their recovery. Helping athletes seek mental health care after their concussion may help reduce the burden of concussions and improve their recovery outcomes.

Referring an athlete to a medical professional is a critical first step in concussion recovery. Research shows that athletes who get medical care in the first few days following a concussion recover sooner than those who wait more than ten days to seek care. If you think an athlete has sustained a concussion, encourage them to seek medical care immediately.

Concussion education can help improve athletes’ concussion knowledge and attitude towards reporting a suspected concussion to a coach or other adult. Research shows that concussion education may be particularly effective when delivered in more than one way, for example, through a video and a team presentation. When planning concussion education for your team or organization, consider using multiple strategies, as it can lead to more comprehensive education and can help reinforce the most important points.

Narratives around concussions can influence athletes’ concussion-reporting behaviours. While performance narratives like “play through the pain” promote concussion underreporting, safety narratives like “it will be better for you in the long run” promote concussion reporting. Coaches and organizations can encourage concussion reporting by shifting concussion messaging to focus on the importance of reporting for athletes’ long-term health and sport participation.

Children take twice as long to recover from concussions compared to adults. Concussions can cause or worsen pre-existing mental health problems, which can negatively impact recovery. Research shows that following a concussion, mental health should be assessed as part of the pediatric concussion assessment for optimal concussion recovery.

People who play sports like soccer and rugby are familiar with yellow and red cards, tools for officials to warn or eject players from the game. A blue card is a new addition to rugby’s carding system. A blue card is initiated by an official when there is a suspected concussion. The blue card tool is now used for all rugby activities in Ontario.