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Parachute announces Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport to Protect Health of Active Canadians

Concussions in sport are a recognized public health problem because of their frequency of occurrence and their potential short- and long-term consequences. These include cognitive, emotional and physical symptoms, and when left undetected, even death. Parachute Canada (Parachute) works closely with concussion experts from across the country to better understand the most effective prevention, recognition and management strategies for concussion. Today, Parachute is announcing the new Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport.

Based on scientific evidence from the 5th International Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport, and developed with Parachute’s Expert Advisory Concussion Subcommittee, the comprehensive Canadian Guideline creates the foundation for a more consistent approach to concussion across the country, which will allow participants to play safer and continue training, competing, and enjoying a full, active life.

The Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport is part of the Parachute-led Concussion Protocol Harmonization Project. With support from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and in collaboration with the Department of Canadian Heritage – Sport Canada, Parachute is working with National Sport Organizations to ensure concussion protocols that align with the Canadian Guideline are in place across Canada’s amateur sport community.

The announcement comes following the Conference of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation in Winnipeg. Steve Podborski, Parachute President & CEO and Olympian, is available to media.

Quick Facts

    Sport and recreation-related injuries account for more than half of child and youth injuries treated in emergency departments across Canada.

    Among children and youth (10-18 years) who visit an emergency department for a sports-related head injury, 39% were diagnosed with concussions, while a further 24% were possible concussions.

    The Government of Canada is investing $1.4 million to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to preventing, managing and raising awareness among Canadians about concussions.


“I encourage all Canadians to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives. However, I also want to encourage safe practices to prevent possible injuries. The Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport not only raises concussion awareness, but also provides parents, coaches, athletes and healthcare professionals with an evidence-based approach to preventing, identifying, managing and treating concussions.”

– The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P., Minister of Health

“I am excited that the Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport is now available to all Canadians. It’s an invaluable tool, which will allow athletes, especially our young ones, to enjoy sport in a safe manner. I truly hope that this guideline will be used by all provinces and territories to ensure that proper return-to-play and return-to-learn protocols are followed by all.”

– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“We are honoured to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other elite members of the medical community, who are helping us better understand concussion prevention, recognition and management strategies to better equip Canadian athletes, coaches, educators and parents with the right information. The Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport will ensure there is consistent, evidence-based concussion information across the board for amateur sport organizations.”

– Steve Podborski, Parachute President & CEO

“I am 100% supportive of a national strategy on concussion to create a more consistent approach across the country. Many Canadian athletes compete in multiple sports, so having our sport organizations on the same page about concussion is critical to ensure our athletes are managed properly. This way they can continue competing, and excelling, at home and on the international stage.”

– Curt Harnett, Olympian, three-time Olympic medalist, Chef de Mission Rio 2016

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Concussion Expert Speaks Out About U.S. Soccer Federation Heading Guidelines

Bianca Edison, MD, MS, FAAP, an attending physician in the Children’s Orthopaedic Center and assistant clinical professor of Orthopaedics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, penned an essay in response to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s new guidelines regarding the technique of heading in practice and in regulation play:

“As a sports medicine physician who treats many youth who have suffered from concussion-related injuries at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, as well as a mother of two young children, I commend the U.S. Soccer Federation for taking a leadership role in being a catalyst for change and injury reduction in youth soccer. Banning heading for children under the age of 10 can help reduce risk of injury as one’s neck and trunk strength at those ages is not as well developed, nor is the coordination of those muscles to help keep stability to the head when initiating contact with the ball. Moreover, young children may often become fearful of the ball when it is approaching their head, forgetting about proper technique.

“While new guidelines and recommendations from the USSF on heading can help reduce risk to the brain, neck and spine, heading only accounts for a small portion of why concussions occur in soccer. Collision, rather than purposeful heading, has been found in recent studies to be the most likely cause for acute head injuries in soccer. Head-to-head, head-to-body part, and head-to-ground collisions in soccer account for most concussions.

“I would challenge the USSF and its affiliates to use their player safety campaign as an opportunity for proactive awareness and education regarding injury risk and management, to include concussion. As heading is still included in many sports leagues within these age groups as well as older age groups, it is important for athletes to learn proper heading techniques, even if not using regularly during game play.

“Age-appropriate players should have proper instruction on correct heading technique and emphasis should also be placed on neck and trunk strengthening exercises. Drills to develop neck strength and skills using beach or light-weight dry foam balls can be done to teach form without exposure to recurrent head trauma. Developing these skills is essential to appropriate implementation later.

“At the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Sports Medicine program, we often provide our athletes with neck strengthening exercises to work on at home and integrate into practice. Players should never be forced to head a ball if they are fearful. The ball should be the age-appropriate size, water-resistant, and inflated properly. Goal posts should be padded and other equipment outfitted correctly.

“While regulations regarding play are important, education is even more critical. Awareness of the signs and symptoms of concussion, and knowledge on concussion management and return to play protocols are important to prevent serious injury. Efforts to ensure that young athletes feel comfortable notifying someone when they are hurt keeps our young kids healthy. Those efforts also help to maintain the longevity of their athletic careers. The USSF’s recommendations are wide-reaching, as more than 3 million youth are registered to play. As the governing body over the sport in the United States, the organization’s guidelines about heading will help raise awareness that concussions are a significant risk in soccer. Everyone — coaches, parents and athletes — needs to be serious about recognizing and addressing such an injury.”

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ACC Commissioner Endorses NCAA Recommendations to Limit Live Contact

Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford has expressed support for the NCAA recommendations to limit live contact during in-season football practice to two days per week.

And it doesn’t end there as he announced earlier this week that the ACC is teaming with USA Football and others to endorse the Heads Up Football initiative.

“The last thing you want to see is someone damaged for life or hurt badly because of the game,” Swofford told the media. “That’s inevitable to some degree due to the nature of the sport, but anything that can be alleviated there, I think we need to do it, for the safety of the people playing it first and foremost, and for the game itself and its future.

“The game needs to be kept as safe as possible in order for the game to retain its popularity, and for people to want to play the game, and for moms and dads to want their sons to play the game.”


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