Welcome back hockey fans!
Hockey season is in full swing and concussion is now a hot topic for sports media.
What is concussion? How does it happen? How can I prevent concussion?
How can my Physiotherapist help?
Information & Prevention
Concussion is an injury to the brain caused by the brain forcefully coming into contact with the inside of the skull. The brain cells become damaged, and do not work properly. Concussion may result following a direct or indirect (whip-lash effect in neck) trauma to the head.
True or False: A concussion may result following a fall on your tailbone? (See end of document for the answer)
Symptoms & Signs of Concussion
A player may show one or more Symptoms or Signs
Symptoms & Signs may progress as time passes after trauma
It is important to monitor the injured athlete during this time
- Feeling dazed
- Seeing stars
- Sensitivity to light
- Ringing in ears
- Nausea, vomiting
- Confusion, disorientation
- Poor balance or coordination
- Slow or slurred speech
- Poor concentration
- Delayed responses to questions
- Vacant stare
- Decreased playing ability
- Unusual emotions, personality change and inappropriate behaviour
Important Steps to Follow
If Suspecting a Concussion
Loss of Consciousness (Unconscious)
- Initiate Emergency Action Plan and call 911
- Assume possible neck injury so block the head to maintain in-line stabilization
- Monitor A-airway B-breathing C’s-circulation
- Remove player from activity
- Remain with athlete and monitor symptoms and signs
- Do not give any medication or alcohol
- The athlete should be evaluated by a medical doctor
- The player shall not return to play in that game or practice
Any player suspected of having a concussion must contact a physician before returning to play.
Prevention & Treatment
- Play with in the rules and boundaries of the game
- Respect other players
- No hits to the head
- No hits from behind
- Make sure ALL equipment fits and is worn properly especially helmet and mouth guard
- Train strength, core control, stability and balance to the best ability
- Eliminate all hits from behind
- Eliminate all hits to the head
- Recognize the symptoms and signs of a concussion and follow advice from medical professionals regarding return to play protocols
- Limit thinking activities and visually stimulating activities such as video games and TV
- Inform and educate players about risks or concussion
- Be assessed by your physiotherapist who may recommend training for neck strengthening, balance, and core strength
- Will complete a proper Return to Play protocol with graduated sport specific testing
- Will complete sport specific return to play retraining for overall injury prevention.
For return to play protocols and additional information, please visit
Feel Free to Speak with Your Physiotherapist & Certified Athletic Therapist:
France, Jason, Lauren, Megan at Altima Physio, Milton