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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?

  • 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
  • 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?

Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

Disclaimer: Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) offers Google Translate to better facilitate access for our community. However, HHS makes no claims regarding the accuracy of translations. Any and all health information should be verified by a health care professional.