Managing symptoms and a gradual return to daily life are foundational to concussion recovery — and timing matters.
Concussions are the most common type of traumatic brain injury sustained by Canadians. Tens of thousands occur each year, and perhaps more — research suggests as many as 50% of concussions are never reported, and as a result, are never treated.
This gap in reporting and seeking care isn’t as harmless as it may sound. While most people will recover from a concussion in one to four weeks with proper care, a person’s recovery can take much longer and include more symptoms if their concussion goes unrecognized, unmanaged, or mismanaged.
Proper recognition and management also helps Canada’s overburdened health system. More Canadians recovering with the help of their family doctor and support from family, peers, schools, or workplaces means opening up access to specialized care for the subset of people who need it most.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, half of Canadians report knowing little to nothing about concussions. In 2020, Parachute worked with four Olympic and Paralympic athletes — Scott Moir, Cindy Ouellet, Marie-Philip Poulin, and Steve Podborski — to encourage all Canadians to #CheckForConcussion. This important message isn’t just for athletes. In fact, the top causes of concussion include falls and car crashes. We can all learn what to watch for and what to do, to look out for those around us.
For five years, Parachute has worked with the Government of Canada, national sport bodies, and concussion experts to improve the approach to concussion across the country. With research exploding at a never-before-seen rate, new knowledge about the brain will continue to progress how we address concussion and other brain injuries. In the meantime, with no golden test or treatment, prevention, recognition, and management are the most important tools we have.
Stephanie Cowle is the Director of Knowledge Translation at Parachute.