Concussions a priority

The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online, free resource that school professionals can use

B.C. Children’s Hospital is launching a new evidence-based tool for educators to help prevent, recognize and respond to concussions in the classroom.

The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online, free resource that school professionals can use to help children as they return to school after time off from a concussion or if they sustain a concussion while at school.

“Keeping kids safe from injuries is a priority for our government,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

“Tools like this equip all people who care for children – including parents, coaches and educators – with knowledge on how to prevent head injuries and tips to help kids recover fully, if they suffer a concussion.”

Outdoor activities and sports like hockey, soccer and football are a fun way for children and teens to stay active. But if an impact happens that involves a direct blow to the head or other part of the body, it can result in a brain injury known as a concussion.

“Parents and teachers often question when it’s safe for a child to go back to school after a concussion, or if children should be pulled out of sports,” said  Dr. Shelina Babul, associate director and sports injury specialist at the B.C. Injury Research and Prevention Unit and B.C. Children’s Hospital.

“We developed the CATT to help them educate themselves on how to help a child recover and get quickly back to their usual routines.”

Developed by the B.C. Injury Research and Prevention Unit at B.C. Children’s Hospital and the University of B.C., the CATT provides educators with recommendations about classroom adjustments to help students as they recover and to avoid potential life-long complications.

After a head injury, a lot of ordinary things at school can bring back concussion symptoms. Stimulation from other kids in the classroom, loud noises on the playground, and the stress of school work can trigger headaches, nausea, dizziness and confusion.

“CATT is a direct result of PHSA’s commitment to innovative research for better health,” said Carl Roy, Provincial Health Services Authority president.

Teachers can go to to find out about modifications they can make for a concussed student such as reducing reading and homework, shortening the school day or adjusting deadlines for projects and tests. The tool features short, five-minute videos with sports stars like pro hockey player Sidney Crosby that provide kids with tips about staying safe during play.

The CATT also has specific information for medical professionals, parents, players and coaches. Smartphone-accessible forms and tools help parents and coaches track symptoms in order to respond to a head injury and record information that may be helpful to medical professionals.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury.

Symptoms of a concussion can include headaches, nausea, dizziness and confusion. They may appear immediately or after hours or days. Serious complications can include brain damage, disability and death if not recognized immediately.