Brain Injury/Concussion

Child specific Return to Activity guidelines, which are more conservative than adult guidelines, were developed to guide management when youth sustain a concussion. Implementation of these new pediatric specific recommendations is an important addition to prevention of subsequent concussions during vulnerable recovery periods. These guidelines aim to facilitate recovery by preventing prolonged symptomatology, repeat injury and secondary sequelae such as depression and anxiety.

Love Your Brain Like You Love Your Game: What You Should Do If You Get A Concussion

The following video shows one example of the lived-experience of concussion and what steps should be taken if a child/youth sustains a concussive injury.

Brain Injury

Brain injuries have become an increasingly common and significant medical and societal concern. Statistics estimate that thousands of Canadians incur traumatic brain injuries each year. Young adults sustain the majority of these injuries. The level and severity of brain injuries vary depending on both the type of force and the amount of force that impacts the head. Brain injuries can impact one area, multiple areas or all areas of the brain.

Acquired vs. Traumatic

There are two main classifications of brain injuries, acquired brain injury (ABI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Each of these classifications also has sub classifications and various levels of injury associated with them.

Acquired brain injury is damage to the brain that occurs after birth and is not related to a developmental disability, a degenerative disease or a congenital disorder. Some causes of acquired brain injury include strokes, tumors, toxins, anoxia (when the brain does not receive oxygen), hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain).

Traumatic brain injury is a sub type of Acquired brain injury that occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. Causes of TBI include a blow to the head or body or other traumatic injury such as a rotational jolt or object penetrating the skull. Events that commonly cause brain injuries to occur include: falls, motor vehicle accidents, sport related injuries and violence.

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What is a Concussion

Concussion/mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is a type of traumatic brain injury that may alter the way your brain functions. Symptoms of a concussion are usually temporary but duration, onset and type of symptoms vary by individual. It is even possible for people to sustain a concussion and not realize, as concussions are not always associated with a loss of consciousness. Recovery varies by the individual; symptoms may go away a couple of days after the injury or may take a few months or years to fully recover. Many factors can influence a person's ability to recover from a concussion. A person's age, how healthy they were before the injury and how they take care of their injury can impact recovery. The most important aspect of recovery and brain healing is ensuring that the brain is rested. An individual with a concussion must not ignore their symptoms and should avoid physically and mentally demanding tasks, as this often makes symptoms worse. It is also recommended that a gradual return to regular activities occurs.

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Concussion Signs & Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of a concussion can range in severity from being very mild or subtle and have a delayed onset to severe and immediate onset.

The most common symptoms of a concussive traumatic brain injury are headache, loss of memory surrounding the event, and confusion or disorientation.

Signs and symptoms of a concussion may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Problems with balance
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Problems with sleep
  • Sensitivity to light

  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Increased irritability
  • Increased sadness
  • Increased anxiousness
  • More emotional
  • Mentally foggy

  • Problems with concentration or memory
  • Slower response times
  • Issues with speech
  • Issues with taste and smell

Listen in as CanChild scientist Carol DeMatteo discusses the Concussion Guidelines on the AM900 CHML Bill Kelly show.

    For more information or if you have any questions please contact Carol DeMatteo at or 905-525-9140 x27805