Guidelines for Parents with Children at Risk for Concussion
The Peel District School Board recognizes the importance of the health, safety and overall well-being of students and is committed to taking steps to reduce the risk of injury. Research demonstrates that a concussion can have a significant impact on a student – cognitively, physically, emotionally and socially.
Children and adolescents are among those at greatest risk for concussions and, while there is potential for a concussion any time there is body trauma, the risk is greatest during activities where collisions can occur, such as during physical education classes, playground time, or sports activities.
Educators, school staff and parents play a crucial role in the identification of a suspected concussion, as well as in the ongoing monitoring and management of a child with a concussion. Awareness of the signs and symptoms of concussion, and knowledge of how to properly manage a diagnosed concussion, is critical in a student’s recovery and is essential in helping to prevent the student from returning to learning or physical activities too soon and risking further complications. Ultimately, this awareness and knowledge could help contribute to the student’s long-term health and academic success.
- is a brain injury that causes changes in the way in which the brain functions and that can lead to symptoms that can be physical (e.g., headache, dizziness), cognitive (e.g., difficulty in concentrating or remembering), emotional/behavioural (e.g., sadness, irritability), and/or related to sleep (e.g., drowsiness, insomnia);
- may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, or neck or by a blow to the body that transmits a force to the head that causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull;
- can occur even if there has been no loss of consciousness (in fact, most concussions occur without a loss of consciousness);
- cannot normally be seen using medical imaging tests, such as X-rays, standard computed tomography (CT) scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
It should also be noted that injuries that result from a concussion may lead to “second impact syndrome”, which is a rare condition that causes rapid and severe brain swelling and often catastrophic results, if an individual suffers a second concussion before they are free from symptoms sustained from the first concussion.
Only a medical doctor or a nurse practitioner can diagnose a concussion. Educators, school staff, volunteers, students and parents DO NOT make concussion diagnoses.
To minimize risks and symptoms of concussion, a PARENT should:
- Reinforce concussion prevention strategies with your child (e.g. following rules of fair play, playground safety rules, wearing properly fitted helmets, and using equipment safely).
- In the event of a suspected concussion, ensure that your child is assessed as soon as possible by a physician or nurse practitioner.
- Cooperate with the school to facilitate the Return to Learn and Return to Physical Activity plan.
- Follow physician/nurse practitioner recommendations to promote recovery.
- Be responsible for the completion of all required documentation.
- Collaborate with the school to manage suspected or diagnosed concussions appropriately.
- Report any non-school related concussion to school administration.