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Survey finds low concussion awareness in B.C.

A new survey has found only 11 per cent of British Columbians are confident in their ability to recognize signs of a concussion, when sometimes quick medical advice can be life-changing.
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​September 25 to October 1 was declared Concussion Awareness Week recently and health-care experts are calling for a wider adoption of concussion education programs that could prevent long-term injuries.

The survey of 900 British Columbians* also found almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of respondents were not aware a person with a potential concussion does not need to be woken up every two hours.  

"The myth that you need to wake up someone with a potential concussion still persists—in fact, sleep is good for your healing brain," said Dr. Shelina Babul, Associate Director of the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at BC Children's Hospital Research Institute. "These survey results are worrying. If you don't recognize that you have a concussion, you will continue to participate in normal activity and not give your brain the rest and gradual return-to-activity that is needed. Delayed diagnosis can lead to a longer recovery or post-concussion syndrome, where symptoms can last for weeks or months."

37 per cent of respondents said they have had a concussion, and of those, 16 per cent have had more than one. Although concussions can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time, 53 per cent reported they sustained their concussion while engaging in sports or recreational activity.

"Whether you are just entering sports or an experienced athlete, it's important to know that concussions are a risk in any sport or physical activity," said Melanie Mark, Hli Haykwhl Ẃii Xsgaak, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.

"Children and youth, in particular, are more likely to experience concussions from sports and recreational activities. If not managed correctly, these injuries can have serious, long-term impacts on other areas of their lives. Learning to manage these injuries is essential to protecting our loved ones and getting them back into the games they love safely, as soon as possible. Education is power. Please visit the Concussion Awareness Training Tool to learn how you can keep you and your loved ones informed, empowered and safe."

Dr. Babul created the Concussion Awareness Training Tool, or CATT, to educate the public, and this month, launched CATT for Youth, a new course for high school athletes.    

Quick facts about concussion:

  • Common causes include falls, motor vehicle crashes, and sports and recreational activities.
  • Signs and symptoms of a concussion can include headache, dizziness, nausea, light or sound sensitivity, ringing in the ears, irritability, fogginess, difficulty concentrating, or confusion.
  • Signs and symptoms that are "red flags" indicating that immediate medical attention is required can include loss of consciousness, a persisting and worsening headache, slurred speech, repeated vomiting, and, for toddlers, persistent crying. 
  • Recovery from concussion can take up to four weeks for children and youth.

Learn More:

Visit www.cattonline.com for e-learning courses, a Concussion Awareness Week campaign toolkit, and to learn more about B.C.'s concussion education activities.

*Survey of a representative sample of 900 British Columbians aged 25-55 from July 28 to August 8, 2022 by Majid Khoury on behalf of the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit. The margin of error is 3.27 per cent. For questions where respondents were asked to rate their confidence on a scale of 1 to 10, scores of 8, 9, and 10 were used in reporting.

BC Children's Hospital; concussions; concussion; CATT; CATT for youth
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