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What is a Concussion?

Content provided by Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

A concussion is a brain injury that can affect how your brain works. Concussions may happen because of a hit to the head, face, neck or somewhere else on the body. When a hit takes place, the brain moves back and forth inside the skull. If it moves hard enough, the brain can become injured. This can make your brain and body work and feel different.

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How can I tell if I have had a concussion?

Everyone’s concussion experience is different and not everyone reacts the same way. Signs and symptoms related to concussion can be grouped into four main categories: Physical, Cognitive and Mental, Emotional/Behavioural and Sleep (see image below for examples of each). For some people, recovery from a concussion is quick, and for others, the road to recovery is longer. It’s hard to predict how long a concussion will last.

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So I have a concussion, what do I do?

When you’ve had a concussion, it’s important for you to immediately:

1. Stop studying, working or playing

2. See your doctor for help

3. Rest your brain and body

You and your doctor or healthcare team member need to work together to help you get better from your concussion. They will help you slowly go back to studying, working or playing. Keep in mind – to get better you need physical and mental rest. Taking steps to conserve energy, get enough sleep, relax, eat the right food and plan return to school or activities, will help you to conserve energy and manage your concussion.

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Concussions 101 - a primer for Kids and Parents by Dr. Mike Evans