Participating in physical activity provides great benefits to children, teenagers and adults. Whether it be participating in soccer, running, football, volleyball, cycling, rugby, tennis...physical activity is necessary to maintain physical and mental health. This participation does lead to potential risk of injury, including sprains, strains, and concussions. Certain sports present an increased risk of concussions, for example, high contact sports (martial arts, boxing, football, rugby, hockey, soccer...) and sports with increased heights and velocities (cycling, ski, gymnastics, cheerleading…). However, a direct or indirect impact to the head can lead to a concussion in sporting and non-sporting environments. Therefore, how can we decrease the risk of a concussion? Although it is currently impossible to participate in an activity with no risk of injury, here are 7 C.E.R.E.B.R.A.L. ways to protect your child’s brain!

  • C.ollaboration with the sports associations
  • E.ducation
  • R.espect rules and regulations
  • E.quipment checks
  • B.ecome part of the team
  • R.apid assessment by a healthcare professional
  • A.L.ways check your sources!


1. C.ollaboration with the sports associations

Ask your child’s sports association what measures have been taken to identify and manage concussions. Research and clinical recommendations on mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) are constantly evolving; it is important that the association revise their procedures/protocols at least on an annual basis under the guidance of an expert in the field. Do their protocols respect the new Consensus statement on concussions in sport (Berlin, 2016)? If they do not have procedures or protocols in place, please encourage the directors of the association to create a medical committee to allow for adequate injury management of the athletes! A multidisciplinary approach to concussion management will provide a safer environment for your children.

The C-CENTRE is a proud partner of different sports associations in the Outaouais region, including the Association de Soccer de Hull, the Gladiateurs Rugby Clubs, the Association de Soccer de Gatineau and the Griffons of the CEGEP de l’Outaouais. Please do not hesitate to contact our team with any questions or comments regarding our partnerships or pre-season team baseline testing! (

2. E.ducation

An estimated 50% of concussions go unreported. A possible explanation for this high rate is: 1) athletes are masking their symptoms in order to remain in the game, and/or 2) athletes are unaware that they are experiencing concussion-related symptoms.

Do you know the signs and symptoms of a concussion? We often hear of headaches and and dizziness, however, these symptoms are not always present following a concussive impact. Furthermore, it can take up to 48 hours for symptoms to appear!

It is important to note that a rapid assessment following a concussion will favour an optimal return to activities and minimize the risk of potential long-term negative repercussions. Please consult our concussion identification tool and symptom report. Please note that when in doubt or concerned, please bring your child to the nearest hospital or contact your family doctor directly. A multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals specialized in concussions should then be consulted for concussion management.

3. R.espect rules and regulations

Respecting the rules and regulations minimizes the risk of injury, whether it be by completing a proper tackling technique in football, or respecting the playground rules during recess. Your child must be aware of the rules of play, and understand the importance of respecting them; this not only ensures a safer environment for them, but also for their teammates and their opponents! This learning process must begin with their coaches during practices; a team approach is necessary!

4. E.quipment checks

Sports equipment, including cycling and football helmets, were not initially created to minimize the risk of concussions. The main role of protective helmets is rather to prevent from severe traumatic brain injuries (skull fractures, cerebral haemorrhages...). However, faulty equipment or equipment that is not properly fitted can increase the risk of injury; for example, ice skates that are not properly laced can increase the risk of falls, or an oversized helmet can decrease the protective characteristics of the helmet design. Please consult the team equipment manager to ensure that your child’s sports equipment is appropriate, properly fitted and maintained on a regular basis.

5. B.ecome part of the team

Now that you know the signs and symptoms of a concussion, we ask that you join the concussion symptom identification and management team! Please take the time after practices, games and activities to ask your child how they are feeling. You are now part of the first line of defense to identify concussion symptoms!

6. R.apid assessment by a healthcare professional

A rapid assessment following a potential concussion will favour an optimal return to cognitive and physical activities. Where clinicians initially advised for complete cognitive and physical rest until symptoms disappeared following a concussion, an individualized approach based on the patient’s specific state and needs is now recommended to favour an optimal return. There are several clinical approaches to managing mTBIs, and it is recommended that an athlete’s medical dossier be managed by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals specialized in the management of concussions.

7. A.L.ways check your sources!

With fast and easy access to advice on the internet, it is important to pay particular attention to the sources you obtain your information from. Several medical centres, including the CHEO and the Montreal Children’s Hospital, provide important and valid resources on mTBIs; please be cautious of articles and advice that do not base their information on valid scientific research!

The C-CENTRE team of experts is also available to answer your questions regarding concussions!

Please feel free to contact our team: (819)918-6908 or


Benson, B. W., McIntosh, a. S., Maddocks, D., Herring, S. a., Raftery, M., & Dvorak, J. (2013). What are the most effective risk-reduction strategies in sport concussion? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(5), 321–326.

Emery, C. A., Black, A. M., Kolstad, A., Martinez, G., Nettel-Aguirre, A., Engebretsen, L., … Schneider, K. (2017). What strategies can be used to effectively reduce the risk of concussion in sport? British Journal of Sports Medicine, bjsports-2016-097452.

Harmon, K. G., Drezner, J. A., Gammons, M., Guskiewicz, K. M., Halstead, M., Herring, S. a., … Roberts, W. O. (2013). American Medical Society for Sports Medicine position statement: concussion in sport. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(1), 15–26.

McCrory, P., Meeuwisse, W., Dvorak, J., Aubry, M., Bailes, J., Broglio, S., … Vos, P. E. (2017). Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 5 th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016. British Journal of Sports Medicine, bjsports-2017-097699.

McKee, A. C., Daneshvar, D. H., Alvarez, V. E., & Stein, T. D. (2014). The neuropathology of sport. Acta Neuropathologica (Vol. 127).

Patricios, J., Kutcher, J., Raftery, M., Makdissi, M., Putukian, M., Mccrea, M., … Fuller, G. (2016). What are the critical elements of side-line screening that can be used to establish the diagnosis of concussion?? A systematic review Review Protocol Registration number, 2000(March), 1–9.