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Call 911 if the person is unconscious, has lost consciousness or had a seizure.
If they are conscious:
- visit an emergency room or a health care practitioner
- visit Health811 online or call
811to get health advice or information
Symptoms may appear hours or days after an injury, especially in children and the elderly. If symptoms appear or persist, visit a physician or nurse practitioner.
This information is not for emergencies. For emergencies, please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital or emergency department. It is also not intended to provide medical advice. For advice on health care for concussion symptoms, please consult with a physician or nurse practitioner.
Recognize symptoms of a concussion
Everyone can help recognize a possible concussion if they know what to look for.
A person with a concussion might have any of the signs or symptoms listed below. They might show up right away or hours, or even days later. Just one sign or symptom is enough to suspect a concussion. Most people with a concussion do not lose consciousness.
Common signs and symptoms
- Pressure in the head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Ringing in the ears
- Balance problems
- Tired or low energy
- “Don’t feel right”
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Having a hard time falling asleep
- Not thinking clearly
- Slower thinking
- Feeling confused
- Problems concentrating
- Problems remembering
- Irritability (easily upset or angered)
- Nervous or anxious
“Red flags” may mean the person has a more serious injury. Treat red flags as an emergency and call 911.
Red flags include:
- Neck pain or tenderness
- Double vision
- Weakness or tingling in arms or legs
- Severe or increasing headache
- Seizure or convulsion
- Loss of consciousness (knocked out)
- Vomiting more than once
- Increasingly restless, agitated or aggressive
- Getting more and more confused
What to do if you suspect a concussion
Follow these three steps if you — or someone you know — experiences a blow to the head, face, neck or body and you suspect a concussion. Call 911 if you are concerned the injury is life-threatening, such as the person is unconscious or they had a seizure.
- Recognize signs and symptoms of a concussion and remove yourself or the athlete from the sport/physical activity, even if you feel OK or they insist they are OK.
- Get yourself or the athlete checked out by a physician or nurse practitioner.
- Support gradual return to school and sport.
These resources are not intended to provide medical advice relating to health care. For advice on health care for concussion symptoms, please consult with a physician or nurse practitioner.
About the Concussion Awareness Resources
On July 1, 2019, new rules came into effect through Rowan’s Law, to improve concussion safety in amateur competitive sport.
If you are an athlete under 26 years of age*, parent of an athlete under 18, coach, team trainer or official and your sport organization has advised that you need to follow the rules of Rowan’s Law you need to:
- review any one of Ontario's official Concussion Awareness Resources before registering or serving with your sport organization; and
- review your sport organization’s Concussion Code of Conduct that they will provide to you; and
- confirm that you have reviewed both of these resources every year with your sport organization(s)
* Exception: A sport organization that is a University, College of Applies Arts and Technology or other Post-Secondary Institution will be advising athletes of any age that they need to follow the rules of Rowan’s Law.
If you are involved in more than one sport
No matter how many sport organizations you register with in a given year, you are only required to review a Concussion Awareness Resource once within that year. You are however required to confirm your review of a Concussion Awareness Resource with each sport organization with which you register.
You are also required to both review and confirm your review of the Concussion Code of Conduct for each sport organization with which you register.
Additional rules came into effect on January 1, 2021 that require sport organizations to put into place Removal-from-Sport and Return-to-Sport protocols, to improve concussion safety. You may wish to follow-up with your sport organization about their plans for implementing their protocols.
Students and educators in elementary and secondary schools should follow their school board’s concussion policy. School board concussion policies must be updated by January 31, 2020, according to new requirements under the Ministry of Education’s PPM 158: School Board Policies on Concussion, which are consistent with Rowan’s Law. Contact your school for more information.
Concussion Awareness Resources for you to review
Concussion Awareness Resources will be available in the following three formats:
Under Rowan’s Law, if your sport organization has requested it, you are required to review one format each year. All three formats contain similar information. Choose the format that suits your learning style.
Government of Ontario Concussion Awareness Resource E-Booklet
This e-booklet will help you learn more about concussions so you can keep yourself and others active and safe — whether you’re an athlete, student, parent, coach, official or educator.
You can download and print a copy for reference.
- Ages 10 and Under
- Ages 11-14
- Ages 15 and Up
- A Guide for Students & Athletes of All Abilities
- A Supplementary Resource to the Guide for Students & Athletes of All Abilities
Government of Ontario Concussion Awareness Resource E-Booklet in other languages
You can download and print a copy of the e-booklet in languages other than English or French for your reference.
Ontario Government Concussion Awareness Resource Video
This video will help you learn more about concussions so you can keep yourself and others active and safe – whether you’re an athlete, student, parent, coach, official or educator.
Ages 10 and under
Ages 15 and Up
Ontario Government Concussion Awareness Resource E-Module
This interactive learning e-module will help you learn more about concussions so you can keep yourself and others active and safe – whether you’re an athlete, student, parent, coach, official or educator.
Confirmation receipt for Concussion Awareness Resources
Following your annual review of one of the Concussion Awareness Resources, you may wish to complete this optional form and provide it to your sport organization(s) as proof/confirmation of your review of a Concussion Awareness Resource.
This form might also be useful to you as a reminder to complete your review of one of the Concussion Awareness Resources again next year.
This form will not be saved by the Government of Ontario and the Government of Ontario assumes no responsibility for confirming that you have reviewed the Concussion Awareness Resources.