Information for Coaches

Concussion is a common injury that occurs in children and adolescents participating in sports and recreational activities.  In Ontario, 36% of all traumatic brain injury (TBI) related emergency room visits and 16% of all TBI-related hospital admissions were children and youth 18 years and under [6].

Signs and symptoms of concussion can be easily overlooked. Playing with a concussion can lead to long-term problems and can be fatal.  As a coach, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms and know how to manage a concussion.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury caused by a hit to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Young children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults.

What do you need to know about concussions?

If you suspect a concussion:

Does the player have any signs and symptoms of a concussion?

  • Sleep disturbances or drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Visual problems
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Confused, foggy
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Nervousness

If yes, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Is this an emergency? Does the player have any Red Flag symptoms?

  • Increased drowsiness or cannot be awakened
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Neck pain
  • Increased confusion –cannot recognize people or places
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Pupils are not the same size
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness, numbness in arms/legs
  • Change in behaviour- irritability aggression

If yes, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.

Where can I learn to identify and respond to a concussion?