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Concussion: The Basics
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What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when the brain is shaken or jolted inside the skull. This can happen as a result of a blow to the head, a fall, or any other event that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. When a concussion occurs, the brain can be temporarily disrupted in its normal functioning, leading to a variety of symptoms. Most people recover from a concussion with rest and time, but in some cases, more serious or long-lasting symptoms can occur. It’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect a concussion or have any concerns about a head injury.

What are the Effects of a Concussion?

Concussion symptoms vary considerably and concussions in children can be substantially different from concussions in adults.

Some symptoms of concussion include:

  • Headache and pain that won’t go away
  • Difficulties with memory
  • Struggling to concentrate or make decisions
  • Slowed thinking, speaking, or reading
  • Getting easily confused
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in mood for no apparent reason
  • Changes to sleep patterns
  • Issues with balance including feeling light-headed or dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Issues with your vision

What Should I Do If I Think I've Experienced a Concussion?

Get in touch with your doctor at your earliest convenience. Your physician will inquire about the injury and may pose inquiries to assess your cognitive functions including attention span, learning capabilities, memory retention, and problem-solving skills. They might also recommend further evaluations such as neurological tests, a CT scan, or an MRI. During the recuperation phase, seeking assistance from rehabilitation professionals like physiotherapists, kinesiologists, and occupational therapists can play a crucial role in your recovery process, aiding your return to work, sports, and daily life activities. Equally significant are the social and community supports that contribute to concussion recovery. Explore the diverse array of programs available to facilitate your transition. Additionally, it’s advisable to:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to rest.
  • Have someone stay with you for the first 24-48 hours 
  • Avoid moderate to heavy intensity activity until advised by a doctor, light activity (walking, yoga, etc) is encouraged after two days. If pursing light activity, ensure your symptoms to not exceed a 2 out of 10 in severity.   
  • Avoid all screens, cell phone, tv, computer for two days following injury.  
  • Don’t take any other medicines unless your doctor says it’s okay. 
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. 
  • Prioritize sleep quality.  
  • Make sure that you slowly return to any activities, one at a time. If your symptoms come back when you are doing an activity, ensure your symptoms to not exceed a 2 out of 10 in severity.  

How Long Will It Take to Recover?

Some people recover within a few days, for others it can take weeks, and some may have long-lasting symptoms. While approximately 80% of people with a concussion only experience symptoms for a few weeks, 20% of people experience symptoms for much longer. If you’ve experienced a concussion and are struggling, contact us.

Looking for more? Check out Brainline for additional information:

What is an Acquired Brain Injury?

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is damage to the brain which occurs after birth and is not related to a congenital disorder or a degenerative disease. Acquired Brain Injury includes concussions, may be either temporary or ongoing, and may cause partial or total functional disability or psychosocial difficulties.

What Causes Acquired Brain Injuries?

The most common cause of brain injury is a trauma to the head, such as in a motor vehicle accident, a fall, a violent assault, or a workplace incident. Other causes of brain injury include stroke, brain aneurysm, brain tumours, certain viruses, and substance abuse.

The brain is damaged by the impact of it colliding with the interior of the skull, as well as by rotational forces that occur within the brain tissue.

What are the Effects of an ABI?

A concussion or brain injury may lead to deficiencies in one or several of the following areas:

  • Communication: speech, comprehension, reading, writing
  • Cognitive Abilities: reduction in arithmetic or reasoning skills, concentration, memory
  • Physical Functioning: visual challenges, headaches, balance problems, fatigue, poor coordination
  • Social/Behavioural Abilities: poor social awareness, emotional problems, impulsivity, reduced judgment, anger outbursts, depression, reduced motivation, feelings of isolation

How Do I Recover From an ABI?

Some degree of recovery following a concussion or brain injury is common, but the extent of recovery is difficult to predict.

The Victoria Brain Injury Society has many programs to assist people with acquired brain injuries along their journey as a survivor.

For more information about brain injury, we recommend visiting

Looking for more info?

Parachute Canada

Provides additional educational information, resources, return to activity plans and protocols.  

Concussion Awareness Training Tool

Various training modules tailored to parents, athlete or coaches.  

Concussion ED App

By downloading the app, you have access to information on concussion, including a checklist to help you recognize symptoms and the ability to track them, anywhere and anytime, regardless of your access to the internet on your mobile device. 

Concussion Living Guidelines

Large selection of resources to support diagnosis and recovery.  

Pink Concussions

Non-profit organizations focused on providing education for women and girls with brain injury from sport, domestic violence, accidents and military services.   

Impact Applications

A bank of resources for concussion management and information.    

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Victoria Brain Injury Society

Units C, D & E 830 Pembroke Street
Victoria, B.C. V8T 1H9

Phone: 250-598-9339


The Victoria Brain Injury Society (VBIS) is situated on the traditional territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Lekwungen) Peoples. We recognize and express gratitude to the Peoples and Nations in our community, and those throughout the regions we service.