Concussion Toolkit

Tier 1a Active and Safe Project Background and Research

Sport is a valuable public asset in our communities. It can produce many benefits for those who participate and the communities that support them. These benefits are maximized when the sport experience is a good one, driven by values and principles. One of the greatest threats to true sport in our communities is the occurrence of preventable injuries in sport resulting from unsafe practices.

Keeping Canada’s children active and safe should be everyone’s concern.  Serious preventable injuries occur frequently in sports in Canada.  Everyone has a role to play in preventing injury and helping children and youth have the healthiest possible start in life – particularly in reference to being Active and Safe.

The Canadian Centre for Ethics and Sport (CCES), Coaching Association of Canada (CAC), Hockey Canada (HC) and ThinkFirst Pensez d’Abord Canada (TFC) look forward to federal government investments to enable us to leverage and to further our collective programming reach to children and youth who are involved in sport contributing to a safe and welcoming environment in which they participate.  Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are among the most devastating of catastrophic injuries, with twice the death rate of injuries overall.  A brain injury can permanently change the way a child or youth talks, walks, learns, works and interacts with others. This is why prevention and appropriate return to play is so important for team sports.

The Objective of this project is to reduce the rate and severity of concussions and head injuries in child and youth team sports by reducing the incidence of head injury events and improving return to play decision making.

Activities of the project and intended outcomes will link, enhance and build upon the activities of existing provincial, territorial and regional networks and coalitions, as well as building on initiatives supporting the 3Es, which will include a focus on developing and disseminating resources for sports stakeholders including coaches and NSOs, communities including families and schools, as well as influencing Canadians to adopt policies and practices that increase safety and reduce head injuries. The Tier 1A project partners will collaborate to develop a host of shared resources and execute various awareness activities and events through their respective networks that share a united, consistent and reliable message about brain injuries and concussions.

Our collaborative efforts are expected to result in an increased uptake of a variety of safety-related guidelines that will influence rules of play, conditioning and training, identification of injuries and return to play protocols following injury including concussion, as well as standardizing protocols for head injury prevention and concussion education and management for team sports.

The most successful initiatives utilize a multifaceted approach that includes action on the three E's as they mutually reinforce each other and can lead to lasting change. Tools will include environmental scanning and the identification of best practices, online platforms, apps, educational and capacity building initiatives to build public awareness surrounding brain injury and concussion understanding, prevention and management. The Tier 1A project supports multiple activities through a variety of avenues that contribute to four key areas of delivery:

1. Research – environmental scanning will provide better understanding of the greatest opportunity for sports and age-specific approaches by unveiling good practices that can be leveraged.  For more detailed information here are both the Environmental and Stakeholder scans.
2. Awareness – our goal is to develop an awareness campaign that provides consistent and evidence-based messaging to key audiences.
3. Capacity Building Initiatives – including community engagement, education and training as well as the development of targeted tools and resources focusing on brain injury and concussion prevention and treatment.
4. Evaluation – developing measurable metrics that demonstrate the reach and effectiveness of the overall project as well as its individual components.

The project will produce an increased national awareness of head injury and concussion know-how, targeting coaches, trainers, educators, health professionals, community leaders, parents and athletes. This will include initiatives contributing to concussion education and return to play, as well as best practices supporting enforcement and engineering.

This group of journal articles contribute to our collective understanding about the incidence and seriousness of concussion in sport.