Concussion Awareness

Concussions are caused by a direct blow to the head or other body part resulting in a rotational movement of the brain within the skull. It is important to recognize that a concussion can occur with or without loss of consciousness and symptoms can be subtle, including headache, confusion, nausea or dizziness, and may not appear for hours or days. Recommended treatment includes both physical and mental rest.

If an individual returns to activity too soon and a second concussion is sustained before recovering from the first, a condition known as second-impact syndrome (SIS) may occur: a swelling of the brain that can result in brain damage causing severe disability or even death. Furthermore, an individual is three-times more likely to sustain a second concussion in recovery from a concussion.

Children are at a greater risk for concussion than adults. They can take longer to recover from a concussion than adults and are at higher risk for permanent damage.

Parents are central to the management of their child’s concussion recovery. They are responsible for monitoring their child on a day-to-day basis, seeking medical attention, and ensuring their child follows recommended treatment. The Players themselves, children at risk for concussion, also need to understand what a concussion is and how it occurs, what the symptoms are, and the importance of acknowledging a potential concussion.

Coaches, including community volunteer coaches, need to know the principles of concussion management to allow them to identify high-risk activities, compile pre-participation information and take appropriate action when a player sustains an injury that could cause a concussion.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that anyone working with children should be educated about the signs and symptoms of concussion and the appropriate management of a child with a concussion.

The Online Concussion Awareness Training Toolkit (CATT) for Parents, Players and Coaches (PPC) has just been added to, accompanying CATT for Health Practitioners.

Good concussion management may decrease the risk of brain damage and potentially reduce health care costs related to long-term health issues.

Dr. Lynne Nakashima, BSc(Pharm), Pharm.D.
Pharmacy Professional Practice Leader
BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Centre
Clinical Professor