What is a concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury caused when the brain moves rapidly back and forth inside the skull. It can cause a variety of symptoms and may affect the way your child thinks or acts. Most concussions do not include a loss of consciousness.

What causes a concussion?

A concussion can be caused directly by a hit to the head, or indirectly by a hit to the body that causes a sudden jerk of the head or neck. Any force that causes the brain to move around in the skull can result in a concussion.

How serious is a concussion?

Any head injury needs to be taken seriously. Most concussions, managed appropriately, resolve without complications. On rare occasions, concussion injuries can be more serious and result in long term disabilities.

The real dangers of most concussions occur when the injury is not recognized or is managed incorrectly. Returning to activities too early can put a child at increased risk for future concussions and serious complications.

If a person has another concussion, the effects can be worse and result in more serious complications. Second impact syndrome is a rare but typically fatal injury that may result if a person sustains another concussion before their brain has healed.

Managing a child with a concussion

A concussion is a mild brain injury and can be difficult to manage. The long term health of a child who has sustained a concussion is dependent on a management team of athletes, coaches, referees, school staff, physicians and parents. As a parent you have an important role in each stage of managing your child's concussion. Your position as the central caregiver is critical to your child's recovery.

If you suspect your child has a concussion, check for Red Flag Symptoms immediately and review the steps on the  Concussion Response Tool

For more information take the Concussion Awareness Course

Concussion Facts

  • Concussions do not always include a loss of consciousness
  • Helmets DO NOT protect against concussions
  • A child does not need to be hit in the head to sustain a concussion
  • The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be delayed up to weeks post injury

Red Flag Symptoms

If your child shows any of the following Red Flag Symptoms call 911 immediately.

  • Neck pain
  • Increased confusion or irritability
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Weakness in arms/legs
  • Tingling or burning in arms/legs
  • Deteriorating consciousness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe or increasing headache
  • Unusual behaviour change
  • Double vision