Post-Concussion Information Sheet
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury that affects how the brain works. A concussion can‘t be seen on x-rays or brain scans.
What causes a concussion?
Any blow or hit to the head, face, neck, or body that causes sudden shaking of the head can cause a concussion. Concussions can happen from falling, during sports like hockey, soccer, or volleyball, or during motor vehicle collisions.
When should a concussion be suspected?
A concussion should be suspected in any child/ adolescent who takes a blow to the head, face, neck, or body and shows ANY of the signs or symptoms of a concussion. Symptoms of concussion describe how someone feels after they are injured. A child/adolescent does not have to be knocked out (black out or unconscious) to have a concussion. Some symptoms may not appear until the next day. Common symptoms of a concussion are:
What are the visible (can be seen) signs of a concussion?
Signs of concussion describe how a child/ adolescent looks or acts when they are injured. Common signs of a concussion are:
What should a child/adolescent do if they think they or a friend has a concussion?
All children/adolescents who may have a concussion should stop the activity they are doing right away and see a medical doctor or nurse practitioner. All children/adolescents with a concussion should get permission from a doctor or nurse practitioner before returning to full contact sport or high-risk activities.
When should a child/adolescent with a concussion go back to see a doctor or nurse?
Children/adolescents with a concussion should see the doctor or nurse if they have any of the following signs or symptoms: Increased confusion, worsening headache, vomiting more than once, seizures, not waking up, trouble walking, difficulty talking, strange behaviour.
What can a child/adolescent do to help recover from a concussion?
It is important that all children/adolescents with a concussion give their brain time to heal. Here are some tips:
If school is more difficult or if they feel sadder or more nervous than normal, they should tell someone they are comfortable with. This might be a trusted friend, family member, teacher, guidance counsellor, doctor, nurse, or Elder.
Red flag symptoms’ that may indicate a more serious injury (severe or worsening headache, neck pain or tenderness, double vision, seizures or convulsions, loss of consciousness, increase in confusion, restlessness, agitation, or aggressive behaviours, repeated vomiting, or slurred speech) call an ambulance as soon as possible. Symptoms may appear right away or up to a couple of days after the injury.
When can a child/adolescent return to school, activities, and sports after a concussion?
Begin by doing light activities for the first 1-2 days. After this short relative rest, start activities (physical and thinking) that can be tolerated. A mild increase in symptoms is OK. Light activity is encouraged 1-2 days after a concussion, even if the child/adolescent still has symptoms. Avoid any activity where the child/adolescent could fall or hit their head. Resting completely for more than 1-2 days after a concussion may slow recovery.
Use the steps below to guide a gradual return to activities, sports, and school. If symptoms can not be tolerated, modify your activity or try it again the next day. It is important to get medical clearance from a Doctor before returning to full contact sport or high-risk activities. Getting back to school as soon as you can is important and missing more than one week of school is not suggested. You do not need a note from your Doctor to return to school.
How long does it take a child/adolescent to recover after a concussion?
Most children/adolescents with a concussion will recover in 1-4 weeks, but it can take longer for some people.
What can happen if a child/adolescent goes back to full-contact sports or game-play too early after a concussion?
If children/adolescents with a concussion go back to activities that include a risk of hitting their head or falling down again too early after a concussion, they can have another injury. Having another injury can lead to worse symptoms that last longer, or result in a more severe or fatal brain injury.
How can children/adolescents help prevent concussions and their consequences?
To prevent concussions, children/adolescents should follow the rules of their sport, respect their opponents, and avoid head contact. Youth should always wear helmets during outdoor activities such as skating or riding bikes, snowmobiles, or allterrain vehicles.
It is important for children/adolescents to tell parents, teachers, or coaches if they think anyone may have a concussion.
To download the Living Guideline Return to School, Sport, and Activity Protocols please click here.