Concussion Protocol

Pictou County Lightning Concussion Protocol



Concussions in sport have been in the media spotlight for the past few years with the higher incidence and public awareness of professional athletes. In spite of this, the incidence rate is still high. With a number of medical organizations and professional health care associations making concussion awareness a priority, the creation of a concussion management or protocol is prudent. This organization along with many other organizations involved in youth sport, is committed to making a concussion campaign as policy for all those individuals who are involved in student athlete sport.


Concussions can happen to anyone and can occur in virtually any activity. A recent study at McGill University indicated that one of the key factors behind serious and/or repeated concussions was a lack of awareness about brain injury.


Facts about Concussions

  • you don’t need to be knocked out to suffer a concussion
  • a concussion is a mild brain injury that affects the brain’s functions
  • every four minutes, a concussion occurs in Canada
  • a person is four times a likely to suffer a second concussion after having the first one and the effects may be more serious with each subsequent injury
  • signs/symptoms can show up immediately or may not be noticeable for hours or days
  • concussion symptoms differ with each person
  • one in five sports injuries is a head injury

NOTE* if you think you have a concussion, YOU SHOULD NOT RETURN TO PLAY, and see your healthcare professional for diagnosis, treatment and a ‘Return to Play’ strategy

Objectives of the Protocol

The protocol has been developed to ensure an increased awareness of head injury and concussions; provide a united, consistent and reliable message about brain injuries, concussion prevention and treatment.






Concussion Awareness Fact Sheet

What is a Concussion?

  • by definition, ” a concussion is a brain injury and is defined as a complete pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces”
  • practically: a disruption of normal brain function caused by some type of outside force or Injury such as,
  • direct contact to head
  • head contacting other object
  • impulsive force

Signs of a Concussion

  • loss of consciousness
  • balance problems
  • unbalanced, uncoordinated movements
  • disorientation or confusion
  • memory loss
  • blank or vacant stare
  • acting different than usual

Symptoms of a Concussion

Early symptoms

  • headache
  • pressure in head
  • neck pain
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • balance problems
  • feeling ‘slowed down’
  • feeling like ‘in a fog’
  • “Don’t feel right”
  • Confusion
  • delayed symptoms
  • light sensitivity
  • nose sensitivity
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty remembering
  • fatigue/low energy
  • drowsiness
  • trouble falling asleep
  • more emotional
  • irritability
  • Sadness
  • nervous or anxious

Return to Play

An athlete suspected of suffering a concussion must be removed from play immediately and not return to activity until they have followed the six steps of recovery and are symptom free.

Stage 1

  • rest until asymptomatic
  • Rest, rest, rest : physical and mental rest
  • no activity, sports, video games, computer, TV
  • be cautious with sleeping during the day

Stage 2

  • light aerobic exercise
  • exercise bike, 20 minutes, heart rate of approximately 120
  • no resistance/weight training

Stage 3

  • sport-specific exercise
  • may add light weight resistance/weight training

Stage 4

  • non-contact practice
  • progress to heavier weights

Stage 5

  • medical clearance
  • full contact training

Stage 6

  • return to competition
  • decision needs to be made by qualified, medical personnel only (A doctor’s note will be required)

NOTE* The six stages are provided as guidelines only. There are other factors that may need to be considered as well. If at any time during recovery an athlete demonstrates symptoms, they must return to stage one and progress accordingly until eligible to return to play.

The Concussion Protocol has been adapted from the Saskatchewan High School Athletic Association (SHSAA) and credit of its development belongs to them. Their full policy and information can be found at: