Concussion Among Children & Youth

The purpose of these reports is to provide details on the burden of concussion hospitalizations among children and youth in British Columbia’s Health Authorities. This report is targeted to health care providers and community stakeholders in the health authority to be used to facilitate discussion of the need for standardized concussion prevention, diagnosis and management specific to children and youth.

Concussion Among Children & Youth: Fraser Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Interior Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Island Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Northern Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Evidence suggests that children and youth are at greater risk of concussion and more serious head injury than the general population, take longer than adults to recover following a concussion, and that concussions can permanently change the way a child or youth talks, walks, learns, works and interacts with others.

Concussion management and appropriate return to activity is crucial, particularly in the paediatric and adolescent populations. Active and timely rehabilitation is essential for concussion patients who remain symptomatic longer than a six week period. This may include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, educational support, neuropsychology and in some cases,

It is important to note that an individual is 3-times more likely to sustain a second concussion while recovering from the primary concussion. Furthermore, while a rare occurrence, a condition known as second-impact syndrome (SIS) may occur if a second injury to the brain is sustained within a day or two after the first concussive event. This leads to swelling of the brain that can result in brain damage, causing severe disability and in a few cases even death.

Concussions are the most common form of head injury, yet this significant health issue is under-reported due to a lack of education and awareness among the general public and inconsistent and limited availability of data around the burden of this injury. The data presented in this report represent only a fraction of the children and youth that may have sustained a concussion, as this report does not capture concussions treated at physicians’ offices, walk-in clinics, or those not recognized and treated at all.

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