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A concussion is a type of brain injury caused by any blow to the head, face, neck or body that causes shaking or jarring of the brain inside the skull.

Concussions are called the invisible injury. This is because their effects do not appear on tests you get in the hospital.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Everyone experiences a concussion differently. Symptoms can occur immediately or even a few days after the injury. The symptoms may include one or more of the following:

Physical: Cognitive: Emotional:
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • “Pressure in the head”
  • Headache
  • Balance problems
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Neck pain
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Amnesia
  • Insomnia – unable to sleep
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Sleeping too much


  • Irritability
  • Nervous or anxious
  • More emotional
  • Feeling like in a “fog”
  • “Don’t feel right”
  • Sadness (1st footnote)

Common Signs and Symptoms in Toddlers and Infants

Concussions are especially dangerous in young children because they may not be able to tell you how they’re feeling. You’ll need to watch them carefully for any signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Dazed appearance
  • Listlessness and tiring easily
  • Irritability and crankiness
  • Loss of balance and unsteady walking
  • Excessive crying
  • Headache or rubbing of the head
  • Change in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Lack of interest in favorite toys
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

If you think your child has a concussion, remove your child from the activity immediately and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

How is a concussion treated?

Concussions are treated with rest, which means resting physically and mentally. Healing from a concussion can take a great deal of time, so be patient. Returning to daily activities should only be done with approval from your physician or Nurse Practitioner. 2

When can my child return to regular activities?

Follow the Return to School and/or Sport Strategies from Parachute Canada.

Rowan’s Law - Bill 193

Rowan’s Law sets requirements on sport organizations and school boards to address concussion safety. The definition of “sport organizations” within the Act is broad and includes school athletics: “persons or entities that carry out, for profit or otherwise, a prescribed activity in connection with an amateur competitive sport and that satisfy such other criteria as may be prescribed.”

Examples of organization requirements include:

  • A code of conduct
  • A removal-from-sport protocol for athletes with suspected concussion
  • A return-to-sport protocol

Additional Information

For more information and resources, please visit Parachute Canada at

Date of creation: May 23, 2013
Last modified on: July 13, 2023


1American Academy of Pediatrics. Concussions: What Parents Need to Know. (2023). Retrieved from
2British Journal of Sports Medicine. Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport - the 5th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016 Retrieved from
3Parachute Canada. (August 1st, 2017). After a Concussion Guideline Return to Sport. Retrieved from