ABI PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
Concussion/mTBI should be recognized and diagnosed as soon as possible to improve positive health outcomes for patients. While concussion may be recognized in the community by a non-medical professional such as a loved one, parent, teacher or coach, diagnosis should be made by a physician/ nurse practitioner. If you suspect the occurrence of a concussion/mTBI, visit your family physician, walk-in clinic or emergency room as soon as possible.
Evidence-based research around diagnosis and treatment has evolved and moved away from the complete cognitive rest or “cocoon therapy”. Your doctor will prescribe the terms but it usually involves 24-48 hours of cognitive rest and then a gradual return to activity.
There is significant dialogue in the medical community around ways to improve early diagnosis, and experimentation with many forms of recovery and rehabilitation. The ABI patient and care giver must be a strong advocate in this process to seek out the kinds of medical specialists and recovery strategies that are best for you. For an initial list of care services in your province click on the Care Services tab.
The majority of acquired brain injuries, seen by emergency rooms across Canada, are treatable if diagnosed soon enough. Diagnosing a concussion may take several steps. A doctor may ask questions about concussion and work/sport history, other recent injuries, and will conduct a neurological exam. This can include checking your memory and concentration, vision, coordination and balance. Further tests including a CT scan or MRI, can be important to assess for other skull or brain injury but they do not inform concussion diagnosis. In the majority of concussions, there will not be any obvious damage found on these tests. Sometimes the role of neuropsychological testing is important in identifying subtle cognitive (e.g., memory, concentration) problems caused by the concussion and may at times help to plan return to pre-injury activity. In addition, balance testing may also be required. Usually these are arranged by a concussion expert.
You should be cleared by your doctor to return to normal activity, and a gradual re-introduction of mild activity, monitored by your specialist will be recommended.
In contact sports, play safe and don’t initiate contact with your head or helmet, or target the head of another player.
Wear a helmet, despite the fact that helmets can’t always prevent concussions. Properly designed and certified helmets are certainly good protection in many circumstances at work or at play.
For more detailed information about ABI Prevention and Treatment see the following documents:
- GUIDELINES for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion – Recommendations For Parents
- ONF-TBI Guidelines 2nd Edition