Play Safe - Concussion Awareness
The City of St. Catharines is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all participants in City programs. Participating in recreational activities can result in injuries, including concussions, which can have long-term complications if they're not dealt with properly.
What is a concussion and what causes them
A concussion is a brain injury that causes changes in how the brain functions, leading to symptoms that can be:
- physical (e.g., headache, dizziness)
- cognitive (e.g., difficulty concentrating or remembering)
- emotional/behavioural (e.g., depression, irritability) and/or
- related to sleep (e.g., drowsiness, difficulty falling asleep)
A concussion may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body that transmits a force to the head that causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull and can occur even if there has been no loss of consciousness - in fact loss of consciousness occurs in only about 5% of concussions.
Following a blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body that transmits a force to the head, a concussion should be suspected in the presence of any one or more of the following signs or symptoms.
Possible Signs Of a Concussion observed by another person
- slurred speech
- slowed reaction time
- poor coordination or balance
- blank stare/glassy-eyed/dazed or vacant look
- decreased playing ability
- loss of consciousness or lack of responsiveness
- lying motionless on the ground or slow to get up
- seizure or convulsion
- grabbing or clutching of head
- difficulty concentrating
- easily distracted
- general confusion
- cannot remember things that happened before and after the injury
- does not know time, date, place, class, type of activity in which s/he was participating
- slowed reaction time (e.g., answering questions or following directions)
- strange or inappropriate emotions (e.g., laughing, crying, getting angry easily)
Possible symptoms of a concussion reported by an individual
- pressure in head
- neck pain
- feeling off/not right
- ringing in the ears
- seeing double or blurry/loss of vision
- seeing stars, flashing lights
- pain at physical site of injury
- nausea/stomach ache/pain
- balance problems or dizziness
- fatigue or feeling tired
- sensitivity to light or noise
- difficulty concentrating or remembering
- slowed down, fatigue or low energy
- dazed or in a fog
- irritable, sad, more emotional than usual
- nervous, anxious, depressed
- sleeping more/less than usual
- difficulty falling asleep
Notes about concussions
- Signs/symptoms can appear right after the injury, or may appear within hours or days of the injury.
- The signs/symptoms may be different for everyone.
- An individual may be reluctant to report symptoms for fear that they will be removed from the activity, or their status on a team or in a group or game could be jeopardized.
- It may be difficult for younger children (under the age of 10) and those with special needs or where English is not their first language to communicate how they are feeling.
- Signs for younger children (under the age of 10) may not be as obvious as in adults.
For more information on concussion prevention, management and treatment, please visit: