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PA 03-1-0758 Implementing concussion best practice in canadian sport: the concussion protocol harmonization project
  1. Valerie Smith,
  2. Stephanie Cowle
  1. Parachute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Sport participation is a common cause of head injuries, especially in youth. In Canada, sport activities are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury hospital admissions (Impact, 2013). In recent years, increasing attention on concussions has led to an increase in concussion resources, with less focus on a harmonized or standardized evidence-based information. Based on the need for a common approach to concussion recognition and management, Parachute led the development of national concussion guidelines and protocols to better equip athletes, coaches, parents, educators, and medical professionals.

The purpose of the project is to improve consistency in concussion recognition and management across Canada by providing evidence-based best practice guidance and policy support to National Sport Organizations (NSOs). Using the 5th International Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport and the expertise from Canada’s leaders in concussion, Parachute created and disseminated the first-ever Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport in 2017. To increase the resource’s uptake in Canada’s sport system, Parachute worked directly with NSOs to develop updated concussion protocols and Return-to-Sport Strategies. Knowledge translations strategies included educational opportunities, practice tools, templates and resources, digital technology, traditional media, and social media. To date, more than 30 NSOs are directly applying the Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport to their concussion protocols. Project success has been attributed to: cross-sector collaboration between health and sport; government buy-in; efforts to understand the heterogenous contexts, capacities, and needs of sport organizations; and the development of audience-specific tools to improve self-efficacy for sport organizations in the field of concussion policy. The harmonization of sport-specific protocols across the country aims to positively affect the health of active Canadians by clearly defining processes for better concussions management, and ultimately reducing the long-term impact of concussions.

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