Concussion Awareness

A concussion is a brain injury that cannot be seen on routine X-rays, CT scans or MRIs. Concussions may affect cognitive abilities and memory functions, along with various other symptoms. Any blow to the head, face or neck area, or a blow to the body causing a sudden jarring of the head could cause a concussion (e.g., a force to the head, falling to the ground, receiving a body-check).


The following are important points to keep in mind for concussion management. SIRC, along with key national partners and supported by the Government of Canada, created four easy steps to help participants:

  1. Recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion
  2. Remove the athlete from the game or practice
  3. Refer the athlete to a licensed healthcare professional
  4. Return to sport based on the recommendations of a medical expert


  • Headache
  • Pressure in the head
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Balance problems
  • Feeling tired or low energy
  • Drowsiness
  • “Don’t feel right”


  • Not thinking clearly
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Feeling like “in a fog”
  • Problems concentrating
  • Memory problems


  • Easily upset or angered
  • Sadness
  • Nervous or anxious
  • Feeling more emotional


  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Having a hard time falling asleep

The symptoms of a concussion usually last one to four weeks, but may last longer. The amount of time it takes to return to work, school or play is different for everyone. Parachute Canada offers the following strategies for understanding the safe return to activities after a concussion.

Protective equipment plays a critical role in reducing injury risk in a wide range of sports. There is mixed evidence regarding the effectiveness of protective equipment in concussion prevention in sporting contexts; however, making informed decisions and wearing properly fitted equipment is important overall.

In this informative video, SIRC explores the role of equipment related to concussions, specifically helmets, headgear and mouthguards.

CARHA Hockey Helmet Requirements

  • Hockey helmets and face protectors sold in Canada must meet safety standards set by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). 
  • While on the ice, including pre-game warmups, all players must wear a CSA-approved helmet (with the CSA sticker evident) and chin strap properly fastened. Click here for details on CSA-approved goalie masks.
  • A correct, properly fitted CSA-approved helmet can help protect your brain by absorbing the force from a crash or a fall, dramatically decreasing the risk of serious injury.

Refer to Rule 24 – Protective Equipment in the CARHA Hockey Rule Book for additional information and details on complying with CARHA Hockey insurance requirements. 

Hockey Helmet Replacement

  • The lifespan of a hockey helmet is not easy to determine and there are no expiration guidelines for hockey helmets in Canada. Parachute Canada recommends replacing helmets every five years.
  • Hockey helmets are multi-impact helmets, meaning they are designed to protect against more than one impact, but must be replaced when you see damage.
  • The recommendation from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is for consumers to exercise good judgment as to the suitability of a hockey helmet for play. Helmets that are cracked, have loose-fitting or missing liner pieces, or that have been subjected to a severe blow, should be replaced.
  • Using a second-hand helmet is not recommended. The history and the age of the helmet cannot be assured if the helmet had been previously used. The helmet may also have missing or broken parts.

Source: Parachute Canada – Helmets for Winter Activities 

CARHA Hockey recognized the importance of introducing a concussion benefit into our membership program. The Neuropsychology Benefit was added to our policy to assist players with receiving help for the management and rehabilitation of a concussion. 

Please refer to our following resources as we are working to promote safer sport across Canada.

Concussion Recognition Tool 5 
This one-pager is the definitive guide to help identify concussions in children, adolescents and adults. Tip: Print a copy and keep it in your equipment bag.

Parachute Canada
Parachute has become Canada’s leader in injury prevention focused on three key areas where people are unintentionally injured: in the home, at play, and on the move. They educate and advocate for preventing serious injury in our homes, in sports and recreation and on our roads.


The Parachute Smart Hockey program is designed to keep hockey players safe and prevent brain injuries on the ice. It guides teams through important concussion information, helps them integrate concussion tools and resources and supports hockey communities to prevent, recognize and manage concussions. Click here for the entire Smart Hockey kit with all resources for coaches, players and parents included.

Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) – Concussion in Sport Resources
Know the key facts about concussion in sport. Discover innovative tools and resources to support your organization, inform your practices with evidence and ultimately keep your athletes safer.

Contact us

Becky Kolberg

Becky Kolberg

Manager, Communications and Digital Media

613-244-1989 / 800-267-1854
Ext. 241