The frequency of concussions in sport and their potential for serious health consequences are increasingly being recognized as a serious public health issue in Canada.
Yesterday, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced that the Government of Canada is investing $1.4 million to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to preventing, managing and raising awareness among Canadians about concussions.
Currently, there is no common approach in Canada to address concussions across the many settings in which they can occur, including schools, fields of play, and recreation centres. The goal of harmonizing concussion guidelines is to provide caregivers and front-line professionals, including parents, teachers, coaches, and health professionals, with consistent and evidence-based information. These guidelines will help to make sport and recreation safer for children and athletes, and to reduce the health risks associated with this serious head injury.
Parachute, a leading injury prevention charity, will lead the development of harmonized concussion management guidelines and protocols. Parachute has established an Advisory Committee on Concussions with some of Canada’s foremost experts in the field. Over the coming months, the Committee will begin work on the development of Canadian Concussion Guidelines and a series of sport-specific concussion protocols based on evidence resulting from the Fifth International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport taking place in Berlin, Germany on October 27-28, 2016.
The guidelines and protocols will focus on children, youth and athletes in sport and recreational settings where there is a high incidence of concussion, with the goal of having them return to the classroom, activity, and everyday life as effectively as possible. This work will complement broad-based collaborative efforts underway with provinces and territories and stakeholders in the sport, recreation, education and health sectors.
- Data gathered from hospital emergency departments across Canada indicate that 64% of visits among 10-18 year-olds are related to participation in sports, physical activity and recreation.
- Between 2004 and 2014, the number of reported head injuries (relative to other injuries) among children playing sports increased by more than 40%.
- In early 2016, the Public Health Agency of Canada invested $294,000 with Parachute to create the Concussion Ed app, which provides users with interactive resources and tools on how to prevent, recognize and manage concussions, including when to see a doctor.
“In Canada, greater awareness is needed about concussions and their related potential dangers, particularly among those involved in sports and recreation activities. With comprehensive national concussion guidelines and protocols, children and their parents, athletes, coaches and health care professionals will have the information they need to help prevent concussions and manage them carefully when they occur.”
The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health
“I am proud that our government is taking the lead when it comes to the health and safety of Canada’s children, youth, and athletes. There are too many stories of Canadians who have suffered head trauma as a result of their participation in sport or recreation. Canadians need access to the tools and knowledge necessary to keep participation in sport and recreation safe. That is why our government is following through on its promise and making this investment for harmonized protocols on return-to-play and return-to-learn policies to ensure a safe and supportive playing environment for all participants.”
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, P.C, M.P.
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
“Canadians are asking for and have a growing need for accurate concussion information across the country. Parachute is pleased to see the federal government’s commitment to preventing injuries and saving lives with funding for harmonization of concussion guidelines. This is very important work and we look forward to continuing to work with the government on raising awareness of concussion treatment.”
Parachute, Interim CEO