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October 27, 2017 8:56 pm

Learning the ABCs of Concussions

Sunday, October 2, 2016 @ 10:40 AM

concussionPrince George, B.C. – With  classes back in session,  Northern Health has been spreading the word about  concussions  and hoping  folks will recognize the red flags for such an injury.Natasha Thorne is the Regional Nurse Lead for  Injury Prevention for Northern Health and says  while  most  cases of concussion which  have resulted in a hospital stay  of  48 hours or longer (for youth),  are the result of a car crash  (47%)  the second leading cause of  a hospitalized  concussion case is falling (33%).

Northern Health has treated  363 concussion cases at the hospital level over a  13 year span but Thorne says most cases are not reported  to hospitals “If a child or individual is showing symptoms of concussion, they often report to their primary care person first ( family doctor)  so we don’t collect the data  from those injury rates so we know the numbers are much higher.”

Thorne says with  classes resuming,  it’s a perfect time to spread the word about concussion awareness “Kids are getting into  more structured physical activity in fall, so it’s a perfect  opportunity to promote some of the new training tools that have come out recently.”  One of those new training tools is  the Concussion Awareness Training Tool which is online, and offers  tips for parents,  players,  coaches,  teachers and health professionals on how  to  prevent, identify and treat concussions.

Thorne says it’s important to  know the symptoms of concussion  in a person who has experienced a blow to the body or head .  Any of the following symptoms in such cases  are a red flag  and require immediate medical attention:

  • confusion
  • vomiting,
  • seizures
  • weakness in the  arms and legs
  • tingling or burning in the arms and legs
  • change in consciousness or loss of consciousness
  • double vision
  • behaviour changes

“If someone has experienced a blow  and they  have a headache,  maybe feeling a little  irritable and maybe they’re light  sensitive and they go and see their  family physician, those kinds of  symptoms can persist for weeks after the injury and can actually start  a couple of days after an injury” says Thorne.

She says it’s also important for those who have  suffered a concussion  to  ease their way back to their normal  routines “We recommend a slow return to learn and return to work and to play  making sure  someone  doesn’t increase their mental activity or physical activity  too quickly  so making sure  symptoms are not recurring or exacerbated.  So a slow return to work and play is really important.”  She says  those who  return  to normal routines too quickly,  they will be at greater risk of   having a second concussion “Second concussions can lead to more serious complications or longer recovery times.”




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