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Heads Up Healthy Families, Happy Families

Child, Youth & Family Public Health South Island Health Units Esquimalt Gulf Islands

250-519-5311 250-539-3099

(toll-free number for office in Saanichton)

Peninsula 250-544-2400 Saanich 250-519-5100 Saltspring Island 250-538-4880 Sooke 250-642-5464 Victoria 250-388-2200 West Shore 250-519-3490

Central Island Health Units Duncan Ladysmith Lake Cowichan Nanaimo Nanaimo Princess Royal Parksville/ Qualicum

250-709-3050 250-755-3342 250-749-6878 250-755-3342 250-755-3342

Port Alberni Tofino

250-731-1315 250-725-4020


North Island Health Units Campbell River 250-850-2110 Courtenay 250-331-8520 Kyuquot Health Ctr 250-332-5289 ‘Namgis Health Ctr 250-974-5522 Port Hardy 250-902-6071 40  Island Parent Magazine


nowboarding, skating, tobogganing, snowshoeing, curling, snowmobiling, downhill and cross country skiing are just some of the many sports and activities you can participate in to stay happy and healthy this winter. No biggie if you get knocked in the head—just “shake it off” right? Wrong. This might be a good song title, but it’s really bad advice! You may have a concussion. A concussion is a brain injury that cannot be seen on routine X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. A concussion can cause a number of symptoms that affect the way you think or act. If your brain is still healing from a previous concussion, you may be looking at life-changing, long-term problems if you have a repeat concussion during the recovery.

Can concussions be prevented or the severity reduced?

• Concussions can often be prevented or the effects reduced by protecting the brain. A hockey helmet is made to safeguard your head when you are playing hockey or ice skating. A ski or snowboard helmet helps to make skiing and snowboarding safer and they can also be used when tobogganing. Keep your brain as safe as possible by wearing a snow sport helmet matched to the activity. Bicycle helmets are designed to take impact differently and these helmets focus on different areas of protection for your head compared to alpine helmets. Use your bicycle helmet when you are biking. • The helmet you choose should have one of the four approved safety standards: CSA, ASTM, EN or SNELL. Check the safety sticker on your helmet. • Fit is everything. Just like a bike helmet, your snow sport helmet needs to be fitted properly so that it can do the job it was intended for—to protect your head. • More information on choosing and fitting a snow sport helmet can be found at

What else do I need to know?

• Most concussions do not include a loss of consciousness. • Any blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body which causes a sudden jarring of the head that causes the brain to bounce around in the skull may cause a concussion. • Signs of a concussion may not appear immediately after the blow. • How a concussion is handled in the minutes, hours and days following the injury can significantly influence the extent of damage and length of recovery time. When in doubt sit out.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Concussion? Thinking Problems

Person May Be Complaining Of...

Other Problems

• General confusion • Cannot remember things that happened before and after the injury • Knocked out • Does not know time, date, place, period of game, opposing team, score of game

• Headache • Dizziness • Feels dazed • Feels “dinged” or stunned; “having my bell rung” • Sees stars, flashing lights • Ringing in the ears • Sleepiness • Loss of vision • Sees double or blurry • Stomach-ache, stomach pain, nausea

• Poor coordination or balance • Blank stare/glassy eyed • Vomiting • Slurred speech • Slow to answer questions or follow directions • Easily distracted • Poor concentration • Strange or inappropriate emotions (i.e. laughing, crying, getting mad easily) • Not playing as well

Island Parent December 2016  

Gift & Book Recommendations