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Posted: September 28, 2019

Concussion awareness needs to be a priority

Letter to the Editor

Concussions are an issue facing many amateur and professional athletes. The death of Ottawa rugby player Rowan Stringer in 2013 ignited a dialogue in Ontario and across the country on the prevalence and dangers of concussions. We have to remember how crucial it is that concussions are readily identified and appropriately managed in order to optimize recovery. Given the potential for long-term impacts of serious concussions on brain development and functioning in young people, raising our collective awareness is the first line of defense.

Concussion is the most common form of brain injury experienced by British Columbians of all ages. Children, youth and young adults are particularly susceptible when they are involved in sport and recreation activities. However, concussions also occur in a wide variety of other settings, such as motor-vehicle accidents, in the workplace or at home.

B.C. is taking steps to raise concussion awareness beyond sport-related head injury.

The B.C. Injury Research and Prevention Unit provides the online training tool Cattonline, an internationally recognized resource for concussion identification and management. Funded by the Ministry of Health, it is an awareness training tool that includes five modules geared to medical professionals, coaches, parents, school professionals and school administrators, with work underway to expand training for other disciplines. Regardless of your career or background, I encourage everyone to take the time to interact with this very useful tool.

During the 2019 Ministers Conference in Red Deer, Alta., one of the commitments made by sport, physical activity and recreation ministers was to establish a national concussion awareness day by 2020. This will be an important step toward protecting athletes, and everyone, from the effects of concussion.

I look forward to ongoing discussions with my colleagues across government and in other jurisdictions to work to prevent concussions and build on initiatives that increase the awareness, prevention and management of concussions. Safety in our communities is a priority for all of us and raising awareness of concussions is something we can all benefit from.

Lisa Beare,

B.C. Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture

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