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 .
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?
- All concussions are serious
- Even a bump to the head can be serious
- Concussions are an invisible injury. You can’t see a concussion on an x-ray or MRI
- Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness
- Concussions can occur even with a helmet
- Signs of a concussion may appear right after the injury or hours or days later
- Early identification and management can help recovery and prevent further brain injury or even death
If you suspect a concussion:
- Stop all activity right away. If in doubt, sit them out.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Monitor the player closely for any physical, mental or emotional changes. Remember, symptoms of a concussion don’t always show up right away. They may appear 24 to 72 hours after the injury.
- Children with a concussion should not return to any activity on the same day the injury occurred.
Does the player have any signs and symptoms of a concussion?
- Sleep disturbances or drowsiness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor balance or coordination
- Visual problems
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Confused, foggy
- Poor concentration
- Memory loss
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?
Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) Parents, players and coaches Awareness Toolkit includes: on-line course, printable resources, videos and parent handouts: http://ppc.cattonline.com/
Pocket SCAT-3 (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool): http://www.parachutecanada.org/downloads/programs/activeandsafe/267.full.pdf
Concussion Tool Kit- Parachute Canada: http://www.parachutecanada.org/active-and-safe
Heads Up to High School Sports- CDC On-line concussion course, customizable fact sheets and posters:
ONF Guidelines for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion. Recommendations for Schools and/or Community Sports Organizations/Centres: http://tinyurl.com/q5a449k
Concussion at Play: Opportunities to reshape the culture around concussion http://www.cdc.gov/headsup/pdfs/resources/concussion_at_play_playbook-a.pdf