New Brunswick

NB Trauma wants more people to track student concussions with new worksheet

The "concussion recognition tool" worksheet is intended to be used by a "responsible adult" to document when, where and how a child suffered a potential or actual concussion.

Worksheet comes with information on identifying injury, tells people how to react to severe symptoms

NB Trauma is encouraging schools and sports teams to keep a new worksheet on hand to better document head injuries as they occur. (CBC)

NB Trauma released a new reference guide to help identify and quickly react to a student's concussion.

The "concussion recognition tool" worksheet documents when, where and how a child suffered a potential or actual concussion.

It also comes with information on identifying the head injury, and how to react to severe symptoms, such as vomiting or neck pain.

Tushar Pishe, the interim medical director at NB Trauma, said he wants to see the tool distributed on fields and rinks across the province.

It's a central place that people can go to to get the most accurate information on concussions.- Tushar Pishe, interim medical director at NB Trauma

"It's a central place that people can go to to get the most accurate information on concussions," he said.

While a version of the worksheet was created last year for medical professionals, he said NB Trauma wanted to make it more widely available so everyone playing sports is more aware of concussion symptoms.

"An extension of that is actually moving that toolkit to coaches, athletes and also teachers so more people know what to do," he said.

Tracking the numbers

Josh Harris, executive director of Football New Brunswick, said the worksheet could be beneficial for tracking the number of head injuries among players, and what symptoms are most common. 

While Football NB has not yet decided whether to use the form, Harris said he likes the idea.

"The NB Trauma form is an interesting one and it's one that I looked at as a potential way to track this information," Harris said. 

"If we can get coaches to fill this out and get the information back to Football New Brunswick [we'd] have all kinds of data on concussions,

"If we don't use it there may be pieces we can use."

Josh Harris, executive director of Football New Brunswick, said the worksheet could be beneficial for tracking the number of head injuries. (Radio-Canada)
Zoe Watson, superintendent of Anglophone South School District, said schools in the Saint John area already use a similar worksheet to relay information to parents or guardians of injured children.

"There are checklists of 'possible observed signs' of a concussion," she said in an email to the CBC.

Watson could not comment on whether the school board would implement the NB Trauma form.

Increased reporting of injuries

Pishe said using resources like the new worksheet show "real results" in creating more awareness around reporting head injuries.

I think really it is a reflection of people - health-care professionals, the public - being more aware of concussions.- Tushar Pishe, interim medical director at NB Trauma

NB Trauma previously reported a 70 per cent increase in sports related head injuries from 2011 to 2015.

The top five sports sending patients to the emergency department with head injuries were hockey, rugby, football, soccer and cycling.

But Pishe said that's also a good sign, showing an increasing public awareness about head injuries and concussions.

"Over the last three years, we've seen approximately 1,400 patients a year with a concussion or mild head injury in the trauma registry," Pishe said in an email to the CBC.

"I think really it is a reflection of people – health-care professionals, the public – being more aware of concussions, and that contributes to a higher reporting rate."