Facts and FAQs
What is ConcussionsOntario?
ConcussionsOntario is an information and resource portal which is used to share the work of the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) and partners on research and implementation projects in concussion. It serves to inform patients, family members, clinicians, administrators, and the public about our newest research and practice advancements in concussion care through Ontario.
What is the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation?
The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) is a health research organization that focuses on the practical application of research to improve the lives of people with an acquired brain inquiry or spinal cord injury, and the prevention of neurotrauma injuries. Through strategic research funding activity and the building of relationships with numerous partners and stakeholders, ONF fosters, gathers and applies research knowledge to increase the effectiveness and use of prevention, and to improve the systems of care, outcomes, and quality of life of those who have sustained a neurotrauma injury. The foundation receives its funding from the Government of Ontario.
What is a concussion?
Concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries, are the most common form of brain injury. Concussions are caused by a blow or hit to the head, or the body being jolted in a way that causes the brain to be knocked around within the skull. This can cause a disruption in the brain’s normal functioning. A concussion might result in physical, cognitive and/or psychological symptoms. Most people recover within one to several weeks, but about fifteen percent (15%) take longer to recover and may suffer from what are known as persistent symptoms.
A concussion can occur with or without loss of consciousness. As there is no fracture to the brain, MRI and CT scans cannot diagnose a concussion. Every concussion is different.
Who is most likely to have a concussion?
Anyone can suffer a concussion. Concussions can occur from slips and falls, motor vehicle crashes, workplace incidents assaults, and most commonly in sports and recreational activity. Concussion can occur from the very young, to adults, to the very old. Males are more likely to sustain concussion than females, but this depends on the cause and age group.
What can you do to prevent concussions?
How do I know if I’ve had a concussion, and what are the symptoms?
A concussion is caused by a blow or hit to the head, or the body being jolted in a way that causes the brain to be knocked around within the skull. The signs and symptoms may not be immediately apparent. If you are in the middle of a physical activity when a suspected concussion happens, do not continue the activity. If you experience any jarring physical contact that you suspect may have caused a concussion, you should see a doctor. Common symptoms of concussion include: headache, loss of memory before or after the event, confusion, dizziness, ringing in the ears, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting and delayed response to questions. Additional common symptoms that may appear hours or days later include: irritability, balance issues, fatigue and sleep disturbances, sensitivity to light and noise, and problems with concentration and memory. Although most people will recover from concussion, it is important to be cautious, see a medical professional and follow a step-wise approach to returning to all your regular activities.
What is the typical recovery time for a concussion?
Although the majority of people who sustain concussion will recover within one to several weeks, fifteen percent of people with a concussion do not recover as expected and experience persistent symptoms for much longer.
What are persistent symptoms, and does everyone experience them?
Persistent symptoms of concussion are those which last more than a few weeks, they commonly include: headaches, dizziness, cognitive troubles, fatigue, sleep disturbance, mood swings, depression and anxiety. Fifteen percent of concussions result in persistent symptoms, and require specialist care. To read more about persistent symptoms, see our Symptom Management page.
I am a parent/coach/teacher/employer and am looking for information on returning to activity (i.e. work, school, sports) after a concussion.
Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation has published concussion guidelines that include returning to activities after concussion, both for children and adults. For more information on return to activity after concussion, and to view the guidelines, please see our Return to Activity page.
Can you refer me to a specialist?
We understand that navigating the health care system can be difficult for both patient and family members. While we are working hard to help improve the province’s concussion care system through research and implementation, we are not in a position to provide advice to users on navigating the system. We have provided a list of resources and contact information that may be of help to you, to view them, click here.