Healthy Living in the North

Heads up! Prevention and management of concussions

Man wearing a helmet and safety vest while holding a bicycle.

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month, which is a great time to learn more about concussions. Wearing protective gear, including a helmet, is one of the most important things you can do to prevent concussions.

Running, jumping, climbing, tumbling and participating in sports are excellent ways for children and youth to exercise, meet new friends and learn life lessons. But along with the benefits of physical activity, there are associated risks, like the risk for concussions.

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month, which is a great chance to learn more about concussions.

Concussions are caused by a direct blow to the head or other body part resulting in a rotational movement of the brain within the skull.

How can you prevent concussions?

  • Wear protective gear, including a helmet, for sports and recreation.
  • Buckle your seatbelt.
  • Make your home safe. Keep your home well-lit and your floors free of clutter. To reduce the risk of injury to children, use edge and corner guards on furniture, block off stairways and install window guards.
  • Wear appropriate shoes.
  • Ensure a safe playground. Choose a well-maintained playground for your child with a ground surface made of shock-absorbing material like mulch or sand.

Evidence suggests that children and youth are at the greatest risk of having a concussion. They also take longer to recover. Concussions can permanently change the way a child or youth talks, walks, learns, works and interacts with others.

So how do we encourage our children to stay active, grow, develop and play while minimizing these risks?

It’s important for parents, coaches, educators and players to understand how to prevent, recognize and manage concussions. Having the resources and tools to do so is the first step in minimizing the risk to our children.

The British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit has developed a free online training tool on the recognition, management and prevention of concussions. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) supports parents, coaches, players and educators to take the necessary steps to prevent long-term consequences of concussions and to understand the effects and treatment should such an injury occur.

Visit for up to date concussion education training and to complete a free course! A toolkit designed specifically for educators is coming soon!

Shellie O'Brien

About Shellie O'Brien

Shellie grew up in rural Newfoundland and moved to B.C. in 2003. After graduating from the nursing program at Thompson Rivers University in 2007 she moved to Prince George to start her career. She has a passion for population and public health and is the Regional Lead for Sexual and Reproductive Health. After falling in love with the north she purchased a rural property and began to build her hobby farm and family. She enjoys the outdoors, animals, recreational dogsledding, reading, and healthy living. When not at work, she can be found happily doing something outside on her farm with her family.