What is a Concussion?
The GTHL Junior Reporter series is part of the GTHL’s partnership with Holland Bloorview to bring concussion awareness and prevention to the world’s largest hockey league.
Matthew Chiarotto, an 11-year-old who plays with the Forest Hill Minor Peewee AA team, helps answer the question, “What is a concussion?” in this episode of the GTHL Junior Reporter series.
Now that you’ve learned what a concussion is, find out what you should do if you suspect you have one.
The six steps to concussion recovery
- Stop studying, working or playing
Whether it occurred on the ice or off, when you suspect you have a concussion it’s important to reduce your activity to prevent further injury. Stop playing sports. Remember: when in doubt, sit out!
- See a physician for immediate help and diagnosis
Seek immediate medical attention from a physician. This includes an emergency department physician, family or walk-in physician, pediatrician, sports medicine physician or nurse practitioner. It’s important to see one of these individuals to find out if you have a concussion and to rule out a more severe brain injury.Note: Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital does not have an emergency department.
- Educate yourself about concussion
So you have a concussion, now what? Our Concussion & You handbook is informed by our experts and designed to help with your concussion management and recovery. You can also attend one of our free concussion education and support sessions. You will leave these sessions with a real plan to get on the right track towards recovery.
- Rest your brain and bodyIt’s important to get the right amount of mental and physical and cognitive (thinking) rest when you have a concussion. Rest helps your brain recover so you can return to the activities you want or need to participate in. But don’t rest for too long. A gradual increase of light cognitive (thinking) and physical activity helps with overall recovery.Go for a walk, ride on a stationary bike or read for a short period of time, if you feel up to it. If this activity makes you feel worse, stop and rest. You can try again another day, or maybe try a different activity that isn’t so hard. Make sure you avoid any activities where you could get a concussion again (sports, rough play etc.).
- Slowly return to school, and then return to playAs you recover and experience fewer symptoms, you can slowly return to school and light physical activity. Work with a guidance counselor or nurse to make sure you get the support you need at school. It is important that you successfully return to school and social activities before you return to full physical activity and sport. Avoid full physical activity until you are symptom free or a physician has approved your return to play.
- If you continue to experience symptoms past four weeks, get a referral to see a specialist for more helpAlthough most youth recover quickly, 30 per cent of youth experience concussion symptoms for longer than four weeks. If you continue to experience symptoms for longer than four weeks, have your physician complete our physician referral form to receive individualized care from our experts in the persistent symptoms clinic. Depending on your goals and priorities, services may include: medical follow-up with a neurologist and/or developmental pediatrician, neuropsychology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and consultation with a social worker.
For more information on concussion and the new concussion policy visitgthlcanada.com/concussions