I spend more time than any person ever should on social media and that includes seeing 'Suggested Pages' and their respective posts. From time to time I will read the comments and see what people are saying about the page and the post.
Most of the time, I am disturbed by what I read. Best example is reading through the posts on a suggested page called Parachute Canada - now listed in the Helpful Links page - where I discovered that, even with clear and decisive evidence available, ignorance is alive and well.
Parachute Canada is an organization that provides education and resources to the public regarding concussion and other neurological traumas. They recently released guidelines regarding concussion in sport and an app called Concussion Ed which is used to help promote their goal of injury prevention. The post on Facebook was one of a series of 4 images referencing their steps for Return to Play once it has been recognized that there may be a concussion. The comments section was filled with people who were spattering on about how you can just "walk it off" and that organizations need to stop enabling "umbrella parenting" (on the PG side of the discussion).
Let's start with what a concussion is and is not:
IS: A contre-coup injury that occurs when the brain moves within the skull. There is fluid surrounding the brain to make simple and even agile movement possible but a sudden jolt - like something falling on your head, being checked against the boards, and falling the wrong way on a field - can be dangerous. Mild damage cannot be seen on an MRI, CT, or x-ray while the more severe may be picked up because of structural damage.
IS NOT: Something to be ignored even one time. Symptoms of a concussion are extremely broad and do not always appear right away.
What Parachute Canada, and similar organizations, are trying to do is help teach parents, kids, coaches, and the population at large how to better approach a concussion. One thing I have noticed is that young people are not being taught how to make a clean hit, take a hit (of any kind), or how to fall. Back when I played soccer as a child my coaches spent several practices on how to brace for a fall so that your shoulders, neck, and head were less likely to be in danger. The same thing used to happen much more often than it does today. I know that very few coaches do those types of practices at schools - which in my mind is even more absurd than elsewhere considering the clear impact on the quality of the students' learning.
As the infographic above shows the symptoms of a concussion include emotional/psychological/cognitive issues. Again, these are not to be taken lightly. Parker Psychotherapy does work with victims of traumatic brain injuries, including mild to severe concussion symptoms, and can help assess post-concussion symptoms.
So for anyone reading this blog post this is my recommendation, which has been made based on the scientific and medical evidence presented by not-for-profit organizations, the various levels of government, and in the classroom (undergraduate and graduate level):
For parents of young children (0-6): Learn prevention and intervention basics ASAP. Parachute Canada provides short 'courses' on the topic of injury prevention for this age group here and provides these guidelines about Return to Play and Return to Learning protocols if a concussion is suspected. Parachute's resources page contains other prevention information over and above sport if you are interested.
For parents of older children (6 to teen): Same as above plus talk with your children about their comfort level after a fall more closely. As their vocabulary increases they are able to tell you more clearly if something is wrong. If they say that they don't feel well, follow the above linked protocol. Don't challenge them to get back on the field. Tip sheets for most sports as well as for the prevention of other injuries can be found on Parachute's resource page.
Coaches and Teachers: Should go to Parachute Canada's resources page and get familiar with the material. You could save a life. As a group, you may also want to go to Parachute Canada's e-Learning portal and take a course to help improve your ability to assess and intervene on top of improving your awareness.
Have fun. Responsibly.
Any links and information presented above are Copyright Parachute Canada 2013.
Just a way to get a few thoughts across outside of the office. In this blog you may even find entries that assist in your healing without needing a session