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This section of the website provides an overview of concussion, prevention, coping with symptoms and resources for more information. Click on the links below to navigate to skip to a section:


What is a concussion

  • A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury
  • You probably had a concussion if you were:
    • dazed or confused after your injury,
    • lost consciousness (knocked out),
    • or can’t remember what happened for a short time before or after your injury
  • The effects of a concussion can be serious

Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael's Hospital.


What causes a concussion?

  • A direct blow or jolt to the head, face and neck. 
  • It could result from a fall, a tackle in a contact sport, assault, vehicle accident, walking or running into an obstacle, skateboarding, snowboarding, explosion…and the list goes on
  • Most concussions can be prevented

Photos: flickr/John Martinez Pavliga

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After a concussion:
StopStop what you are doing, let someone know what happened and get help

  • It is very important to seek medical advice as soon as possible if you think you have had a concussion
  • Tell whoever is around you at the time that you think you have a concussion.  They could be a family member, friend, co-worker, teammate, or coach.
  • Immediately stop doing the activity whether it is work, school, sports or driving

Brain Recovery

  • sleep and restIn the minutes to days after a concussion, brain cells are in a vulnerable state
  • Usually the symptoms/problems of concussion are temporary and over time will go away
  • Healing usually happens over several days, but in some cases may take many weeks or months
  • Some symptoms may appear right away and some may appear later
  • Symptoms may get worse with an increase in activity
  • Having had a previous concussion may increase the time needed to heal


Common concussion symptoms and problems  




  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering new information
  • Trouble expressing thoughts and finding the right words
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting (early on)
  • Fuzzy or blurred vision
  • Dizziness or light headedness
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Poor balance
  • Clumsiness
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Feeling tired, having no energy
  • Irritable
  • Sad, depressed, tearful
  • More emotional
  • Anxious


>> See the next section on Coping with symptoms and getting better

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brochureTeacher's Resources

If a student sustains a concussion at home or at school, parents need to seek medical attention immediately, and inform their child's school of the outcome as soon as possible. Teachers need to be aware of the physical, cognitive, academic, emotional, and behavioural outcomes of concussion so they can accomodate students with concussion in their classrooms. Outcomes may be subtle and temporary, but may significantly impact a student's performance. (download brochure)

Guides for Youth

Brain Injury Guide for Youth  Understanding Brain Injury in Adolescence


Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation Pediatric Concussion Guidelines

You can access and download the complete Pediatric Concussion Guidelines distributed by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation here:

For ease of access, the guidelines have also been divided into three versions, specific to your role when interacting with children and/or adolescents who have sustained a concussion. You can access these guideline summaries and download them here:


Concussion Apps

HEADWays Concussion Recovery app is a self-management tool for individuals who have suffered a concussion.



HEADWays helps individuals:

  • identify situations that require immediate medical attention
  • learn to sort concussion myth from fact
  • learn the “five rules” of good health that are essential to successful post-concussion recovery
  • identify strategies to manage symptoms, including headaches, light and noise sensitivity, and cognitive or mood changes
  • plan gradual return to recreational, physical, vocational and educational activities
  • find support from reliable online resources

Click here>> for a a free download of the app!


PACE Concussion - Progressive Activation and Concussion Education is an iPhone based app to facilitate recovery from concussion. This guide helps empower people understand their symptoms and what they can do about them. It provides relevant and medically accepted information about concussion in one place. It helps people monitor their recovery, learn how to pace themselves as well as provides step by step instructions on how to return to learn, work and play. 

For more information about P.A.C.E. visit their website here>>

To download the app click here>>




Where can I get help?

Keep in contact with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you to specialists to help with troublesome symptoms

If you had a recent concussion and would like to talk to someone about your recovery, please call:

Vancouver Coastal Health’s Early Response Concussion Service
Phone: 604-714-4186
This early intervention and follow-up service is offered by GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre for indiviuals living within the Vancouver Costal Health Region.

Early Response Concussion Service Description (PDF)
Early Response Concussion Service Referral Form (PDF)

Fraser Health’s Concussion Clinic
Phone: 604-520-4175
This early intervention and follow up service is only available for people who live in the Fraser Health Region.


For more information check out these web sites

  • The Center for Neuro Skills: Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Guide offers an online education course on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Parachute for concussion resources, sports and recreation tip sheets and information about helmets.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide information and resources about concussion /mild traumatic brain injury, recovery and prevention. There are specific resources for physicians and patients, coaches, athletes and parents in high school sports and youth sports and falls prevention for seniors
  • BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit's website is an online resource with information about concussion assesment, treatment and prevention. The site offers donwloadable resources, videos and more.
  • Guidelines for Concussions/mTBI & Persistent Symptoms - Second Edition are clinical practice guidelines are for use by healthcare professionals and others working with people over the age of 18 years old. (who have had concussion/mTBI or are suspected of having a concussion/mTBI). This seminal resource includes diagnosis and initial management, longer-term management of ongoing symptoms, as well as guidance for returning to work, post-secondary education and sports are all included.
  • www.cattonline.com is a website that provides Concussion Managment Toolkits to medical professionals, parents, players and coaches, as well as teachers. You can access their Clinical Toolkit here and their Awareness Toolkit here.


  • Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM) is an organization of physicians committed to excellence in the practice of medicine as it applies to all aspects of physical activity. Our mission is to forge a strong, collective voice for sport and exercise medicine; to be a leader in advancing the art and science of sport and exercise medicine, including health promotion and disease prevention, for the benefit of all Canadians. For more information about concussions visit our website here>>


  • Concussion Baseline Testing - Fortius Sport & Health is launching a comprehensive concussion program which includes Baseline Testing and Post-Concussion treatment by internationally-experienced Sport Medicine Physicians and other Specialists. For more information visit their concussion site here: www.fortiusconcussions.com
     *please note this is a fee-for-service organization*

Stop Concussions FoundationStopconcussions.com is an online concussion/neurotrauma educational and awareness hub for all sports, to address the growing trend of concussions in sports.  It is a portal that players, parents, coaches, and officials can visit to seek information regarding concussions, with the goal of becoming more aware and ultimately safer individuals in their respective sports.  stopconcussions.com will have sport specify programs to help change the mindset of the sport, not the game.

Concussions OntarioConcussions Ontario is the website of the Concussion/mTBI Strategy, which aims to improve the recognition, diagnosis, and management of concussion/mTBI in Ontario. The site is primarily intended for medical and non-medical professionals, researchers and those interested in advancing practice and policy in relation to concussion/mTBI.




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Infographic produced by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit:

BC Injury and Prevention Unit

Infographic produced by MastersinHealthCare.com:

Concussion Infographic

A project of:


Project launch made possible by:

  BC Neurotrauma Fund via

Rick Hansen Foundation, BC Neurotrauma Fund

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We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia. 

Brainstreams.ca is an online education and networking site for the Brain Injury Community in B.C. and beyond.

The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.