Have you ever tried to hide a concussion?

Isabelle MacNeil
Story by Isabelle MacNeil and CBC Kids News • 2019-01-07 07:35

If you answered yes, you’re not alone

If you ever hit your head while playing a sport, you probably know you could have a concussion — they’re pretty common.

It’s hard to know exactly how many kids get concussions in Canada, though, because they don’t always seek medical attention.

And some kids are afraid to talk about them, according to Dr. Kevin Gordon, a pediatric neurologist in Halifax.

He says sometimes his patients don’t like to admit they have a concussion because they’re worried they won’t be able to play their sport anymore.

That’s what happened to Jacob Flaim, who is 13 years old.

A teenager with a ball cap and hoodie

Jacob Flaim has had more concussions from playing hockey than he can count. (CBC)

He’s had several concussions from playing hockey and one time, after getting hit, he tried to keep playing.

“I thought I could help my team win and stuff, but I just, I didn’t have balance so I kept on falling around,” he told CBC Kids News.

He said no one saw him get hit so he kept going.

“I didn’t want to lose the game,” he said.

Eventually, he told his parents what happened.

“When I got home. I started talking to my mom and dad about it.”

Recovery can be difficult

Faith Whitehead, 12, says she can understand why kids wouldn’t want to tell someone they had a concussion.

“Some coaches might think they’ve had a concussion before [so] they might not be good for the team,” she said.

A smiling teenage girl

Faith Whitehead said she had a lot of headaches from having a concussion and ‘it wasn’t very fun.’ (CBC)

She had a concussion from hitting her head while playing with friends and found it hard to overcome.

“Just the sight of bright lights really hurt my head,” she said. “I didn’t do any activities. I didn’t watch TV. None of that.”

Telling someone is important

Gordon says disclosure is one of the biggest issues when it comes to concussions. (Disclosure is telling someone.)

In fact, a new campaign in Canada called We Are Headstrong aims at teaching athletes and coaches about properly identifying and managing concussions.

Athletes know it’s sometimes very tough to admit they may have a concussion, says Debra Gassewitz, President of SIRC (the Sport Information Resource Centre), the organization behind the campaign.

But it’s important not risk your life or your brain for a short-term activity, adds Gassewitz.

A teenage girl interviews a man in a suit in a doctor's office.

CBC Kids News contributor Isabelle MacNeil interviewed Dr. Kevin Gordon at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. (Sabrina Fabian/CBC)

“The best thing to do is get them out of the game, get them better and return them later,” says Gordon.

CBC Kids News spoke to four kids from Halifax to hear their experiences with concussions. Check out the video above.

A concussion usually happens after a hit to the head. Here are some signs you might have one:

For a complete list of concussion symptoms and more information, click here.

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About the Contributor

Isabelle MacNeil
Isabelle MacNeil
CBC Kids News Contributor
Isabelle MacNeil is a creative and ambitious grade 10 student from Dartmouth N.S. with a love for soccer, volleyball, acting and business. Isabelle has been having so much fun working as a contributor for CBC Kids News since September 2018. Isabelle loves reporting stories and hopes to inspire others as a positive role model and believes that giving kids a voice is more important than ever.

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