Concussion Awareness

Updated: Feb 11

Concussion is a serious public health issue affecting all Canadians as it is the most common form of brain injury. Concussions occur when the head or body sustains a significant impact or jolt that causes the brain to move inside the skull. Concussion Awareness Week is taking place from September 26 to October 2, 2021, promoting concussion awareness and encouraging action across Canada. Early recognition of concussion, proper medical assessment, and appropriate management make a difference in recovery.

“Whether it’s on a movie set, backstage, off-camera, or during rehearsal, a concussion-causing event can occur. Due to the complex, high-pressure work environments of the motion picture, television, live event and performing arts industries, workers face situations every day that put them at risk for sustaining this traumatic brain injury.”

– Shelina Babul, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, University of British Columbia Associate Director and Sports Injury Specialist, BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit, BC Children’s Hospital

It is estimated that 1 in 165 Canadian adults suffer a concussion each year. Concussion was the third most reported type of WorkSafeBC serious injury claim in 2016. Yet, experts suspect that concussions are under-reported and that these numbers are larger, including in the motion picture and performing arts industries. A recent cross-sectional survey among actors and theatre technicians in the United States determined that 67% had experienced at least one theatre-related head impact, 77% of participants reported 3 or more, and over 33% reported experiencing more than 5 theatre-related head impacts. Among those who sustained head impacts at work, 70% experienced concussion-related symptoms but continued to work, and nearly half of those did not report the incident. (Actsafe)

Concussion 101 - What you need to know:

Concussion knowledge and education can help: minimize the risk of concussion, guide appropriate response to a potential concussion incident, properly manage symptoms, and support recovery.

  • Concussion is an injury that should be taken seriously. But, like other injuries, you can take the proper steps to heal and get back to your favorite activities.

  • Find out what you can do to prevent concussions in your sport or activity and know what to do if a concussion does happen. Don’t let the risk of getting a concussion keep you out of sport and physical activity.

  • Learn the signs and symptoms of concussion to help you recognize when a participant might have a concussion. Not all people will show the same signs and symptoms, and they can show up hours after the injury.

  • Check for signs and symptoms any time there is a significant impact to the head, face, neck or body. It only takes one sign or symptom to suspect a concussion.

  • Encourage everyone to speak up about how they are feeling. Tell a coach, parent, teacher or another trusted adult if you think you might have a concussion.

  • Follow the gradual stages for return to school, work and sport. Returning to activities too quickly can slow recovery and bring on long-lasting effects.

  • When you are healing from a concussion, you are not alone! A network of people and tools exist to help you.

How do concussions affect the brain? (Time 3:53)



In this video, Neuroscientist Naznin Virji-Babul of UBC explains the science behind concussions and why they can be so dangerous

Recommended Resources

The following resources contain credible, evidence-based, and up-to-date information about concussion.

Concussion Resources for Motion Picture, Film and Live Performance Workers - Actsafe

This concussion resource package is specifically designed and intended for workers in the Motion Picture, Film, and Live Performance industry, including First Aid Attendants, Supervisors, Department Heads, Production Teams, Stunt Coordinators, Dance Choreographers, Performers, and all other industry workers. This package aims to standard concussion recognition and management in performance based industries to decrease the risk of brain damage and potentially reduce long-term health issues associated with concussions.

Actsafe Newsletter on Concussion (Spring 2020)

In this issue of Safety Scene highlights the importance of understanding concussions, what it is like to suffer from a concussion, and the protocol that our industries have adopted towards responding to concussions.

Concussion Ed App

This free mobile application from Parachute provides Canadians with essential concussion information on the go.

Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT)

This resource from the British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit offers learning modules and additional resources for medical professionals, coaches, parents, school professionals, athletes, and workers/workplaces.

We Are Headstrong Resources

Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC)'s website includes links to educational resources and marketing materials for the We Are Headstrong campaign, such as videos, posters and social media content.

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) – Concussion: Prevention, detection and management

This free interactive online course is a collaboration between the University of Calgary and Université Laval. It provides an in-depth understanding of concussion prevention, detection and management. It also guides participants through a reflective process toward implementing a concussion protocol in their setting. Visit the course webpage to sign up for an upcoming session.

Government of Canada Website

The concussion area of the Government of Canada website includes information on symptoms and treatment, prevention and risks, and concussion in sport and recreation.

Lets’ all be part of the safety net

We can all make a difference. Supervisors, co-workers, and peers are often in a better position to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion than the co-worker who is suspected of having the concussion. So let’s all become more concussion-aware!

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