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A concussion occurs when the brain is violently shaken. The brain is made of soft tissue, and it is cushioned by fluid and encased in a protective shell (the skull). The impact of jolting the brain inside the skull causes damage to the surrounding tissues. Depending on the area of the brain that's jostled against the skull, concussion symptoms may vary. It can range from changes in mood and personality, to headaches and dizziness, to poor coordination and balance, to vertigo and eye problems, to memory loss and fogginess, etc.

Participating in sports increases the likelihood of getting a concussion, especially with contact sports like hockey, football, rugby, soccer, boxing, and many more. Concussions can also occur after slip and falls, motor vehicle or bike accidents, work injuries, and other activities that involve physical contact. After a concussion, the brain is confused and very sensitive, so extra precautions must be taken to improve concussion recovery. Sports rehabilitation and concussion physiotherapy can also help.


Baseline concussion tests are a series of tests taken prior to an athletic event or season (for athletes) before they are exposed to training and/or competition. In the event of a concussion, the same test is taken post-injury to yield comparative scores. These tests measure an individual's reaction time, memory capacity, speed of mental processing, and executive functioning of the brain. Baseline testing is important for at-risk individuals as it is an objective measure that indicates whether the brain has fully recovered after an injury.


Concussion treatment interventions are individualized based on the presentation of signs and symptoms. During the initial post-injury assessment, a comprehensive history is taken, and a detailed and thorough neurological exam is performed to rule out more serious conditions. Thereafter, a standardized approach or protocol is followed to ensure a safe and symptom-free return to work, school, or play.

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Concussion treatments are targeted at resolving signs and symptoms such as the following:

  • Physical/somatic:  headaches, migraines, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, visual problems, balance impairments, coordination problems, sensitivity to light and noise, fatigue, neck pain

  • Cognitive:  confusion, feeling "foggy", memory deficits, slowed reaction times, difficulty concentrating, decreased attention span, feeling slowed down

  • Behavioural/emotional:  anxiety, nervousness, depression, irritability, personality changes, uncontrolled episodes of laughing or crying, impulsivity, aggressiveness

  • Other:  insomnia, fatigue, restlessness, drowsiness, sleeping more/less than usual

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