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New website provides free training to identify, treat and prevent concussions in young athletes

July 28, 2014
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Parents and coaches can now access the latest evidence-based information on concussion diagnosis and care thanks to a new, free online resource: the Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) for Parents, Players, and Coaches.

Based on the latest research and best-practice recommendations, this toolkit was developed by researchers with the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI) at BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Website resources include:

  • A brief training course on how to identify and respond effectively to concussions, manage the long-term impacts, and take steps to make sports safer for young athletes.
  • Smartphone-accessible forms and tools to help parents and coaches track symptoms, decide how to respond to an injury, and record information for medical professionals.
  • Short, five-minute videos for children and teens with stories of young athletes who have had concussions and advice about safe play in contact sports like hockey, football and rugby.

A concussion is a brain injury that can be caused by a direct blow to the head or indirect hit to another part of the body. The impact of these hits causes the brain to suddenly shift or shake inside the skull, damaging nerve fibers and leaving brain cells vulnerable to further injury. 

Compared to adults, children are more vulnerable to concussions because their brains are still developing, their heads are bigger relative to their body size, and their necks are weaker. Concussions can be painful and debilitating and can include symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness and confusion. Symptoms may appear immediately or may not appear for hours or days. Serious complications can include brain damage, disability and death.

Parents and coaches who are educated about how to recognize and treat concussions are better equipped to seek medical attention for children when necessary and to participate actively in their care.  When properly recognized and treated, the majority of concussions resolve within 7-10 days. Giving children time to heal through both mental and physical rest can help to speed their recovery and prevent second-impact syndrome, a condition that occurs if a person suffers a second concussions before symptoms from the first have subsided. Second-impact syndrome is extremely dangerous and almost always results permanent, disabling brain injury or death.

Quick Facts:

  • According to the most recent B.C. statistics, $2.4 million was spent in one year on hospitalization for concussions and more than 6,500 concussions were seen in a year in Lower Mainland Emergency Departments.
  • CATT for Parents, Players, and Coaches is based on the latest research on how to recognize and manage concussions and is updated on a monthly basis.
  • The research team is promoting the website toolkit to provincial and national committees and organizations involved in injury prevention or concussion prevention. They’ve also reached out to minor sports associations, and they’ve put up promotional posters and stickers at arenas, libraries, and community centres across the Lower Mainland.
  •  CATT for Parents, Players, and Coaches was funded by the BC Ministry of Health.

Quote:

“Government is committed to ensuring that British Columbians are aware of the importance of physical activity, but also have access to information on safety.  This new website will be a great resource, providing information on how to prevent concussions and properly manage them.” -- Health Minister Terry Lake.

“The goal of this toolkit is to give parents and coaches quick and easy access to accurate, up-to-date information so they can be confident they’re giving kids the best-possible care for the best-possible recovery. We hope it will become a resource in every home and at every sporting event in B.C., across Canada and beyond.” -- Dr. Shelina Babul, CFRI Clinical Investigator, Associate Director and Sports Injury Specialist, BCIRPU; and Clinical Assistant Professor, UBC Department of Pediatrics. 

Dr. Babul spearheaded the development of CATT.

Background:

CATT for Parents, Players, and Coaches builds on the success of CATT for Health Professionals, which was in April 2013, and provides more clinical information aimed at physicians and nurses. CATT for Health Professionals was funded by Child Health BC, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, as well as the BC Ministry of Health. A third toolkit addressing concussion in the school setting is scheduled for release in early 2015.

More information: