Vancouver – BC Children’s Hospital is launching a new evidence-based tool for educators to help prevent, recognize and respond to concussions in the classroom.
The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online, free resource that school professionals can use to help children as they return to school after time off from a concussion or if they sustain a concussion while at school.
Outdoor activites and sports like hockey, soccer and football are a fun way for children and teens to stay active. But if an impact happens that involves a direct blow to the head or other part of the body, it can result in a brain injury known as a concussion.
Developed by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia (UBC), the CATT provides educators with recommendations about classroom adjustments to help students as they recover and to avoid potential life-long complications.
After a head injury, a lot of ordinary things at school can bring back concussion symptoms. Stimulation from other kids in the classroom, loud noises on the playground, and the stress of school work can trigger headaches, nausea, dizziness and confusion.
Teachers can go to www.cattonline.com to find out about modifications they can make for a concussed student such as reducing reading and homework, shortening the school day or adjusting deadlines for projects and tests. The tool features short, five-minute videos with sports stars like pro hockey player Sidney Crosby that provide kids with tips about staying safe during play.
The CATT also has specific information for medical professionals, parents, players and coaches. Smartphone-accessible forms and tools help parents and coaches track symptoms in order to respond to a head injury and record information that may be helpful to medical professionals.
The resources in the CATT are updated on a monthly basis. The tool was developed based on the latest research and best-practice recommendations by researchers provincially, nationally and internationally, with funding from the Ministry of Health, Child Health BC and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Health Minister Terry Lake –
“Keeping kids safe from injuries is a priority for our government. Tools like this equip all people who care for children – including parents, coaches and educators – with knowledge on how to prevent head injuries and tips to help kids recover fully, if they suffer a concussion.“
Carl Roy, President & Chief Executive Officer, Provincial Health Services Authority –
“CATT is a direct result of PHSA’s commitment to innovative research for better health. This new resource will provide educators and parents a more effective way to monitor the recovery process of a child suffering from a concussion.”
Dr. Shelina Babul, associate director and sports injury specialist at the BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit and BC Children’s Hospital –
“Parents and teachers often question when it’s safe for a child to go back to school after a concussion, or if children should be pulled out of sports. We developed the CATT to help them educate themselves on how to help a child recover and get quickly back to their usual routines.”
· A concussion is a traumatic brain injury.
· Symptoms of a concussion can include headaches, nausea, dizziness and confusion. They may appear immediately or after hours or days. Serious complications can include brain damage, disability and death if not recognized immediately.
· When properly managed, 85% of concussions resolve uneventfully after approximately two weeks.
· 1,541 children were admitted to BC Children’s Hospital ER with a concussion or mild head injury in 2015.
· Children are more vulnerable to concussions because their brains are still developing, their heads are bigger relative to their body size, and their necks are weaker.
Funded by the Ministry of Health, Child Health BC and BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is available at www.cattonline.com. It is made up of three components:
1. For medical professionals: to learn about the latest care and management techniques for patients who have had a concussion
2. For parents, players and coaches: to learn how to recognize and respond to a concussion and help a player recover
3. For teachers and school professionals: to learn how to support a student who is returning to school after a concussion or who has sustained a concussion at school
BC Children’s Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides expert care for the province’s most seriously ill or injured children, including newborns and adolescents. It is an academic health centre affiliated with the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the Child & Family Research Institute. Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children is the provincial facility that offers specialized child development and rehabilitation services to children and youth.