Concussion Awareness Training Tool for medical professionals

Of the 18 646 emergency department visits in British Columbia for concussions in 2016/2017, 40% of patients were under 19 years of age. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 165 adults sustain a concussion each year, as cited by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. Concussion is the most common form of brain injury, and experts suspect this significant health issue is still widely underreported. The BC-specific data do not reflect the number of children, youth, and adults who sustained a concussion but were treated in physicians’ offices, walk-in clinics, or those not diagnosed.

How a concussion is managed in the minutes, hours, and days after injury can significantly influence the extent of damage and recovery. Concussions are invisible injuries, in the sense that they do not appear on conventional medical imaging, and the nonspecific symptoms, lack of formal diagnostic criteria, and reliance on patient reporting and compliance necessitates an emphasis on awareness and education to result in timely and accurate detection, diagnosis, treatment, and management to support a full recovery.

I developed the online e-learning Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) in partnership with provincial and national partners, including BC Children’s Hospital, Child Health BC, the Ministry of Health, Parachute Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. The tool provides free-to-use resources, up-to-date research and evidence, and e-learning training about recognizing, treating, and managing concussions. Five educational training options offer the most up-to-date standards to ensure proper concussion care is tailored for medical professionals as well as information and e-learning courses for coaches, parents/caregivers, and school professionals. Additional modules will be released shortly regarding workers/workplaces and intimate partner violence.

The CATT course for medical professionals supports providing evidence-based care for patients who have sustained a concussion. It was recently updated and reflects the most current standards as part of the National Concussion Harmonization Project. The accredited e-learning program covers medical assessment, concussion management, and medical clearance, and also addresses persistent symptoms and how to manage those symptoms with multidisciplinary care. The comprehensive site includes clinical resources; patient handouts; return-to-school, -work, -play, and -activity protocols; and current research. The standardized diagnostic tools SCAT5 and Child SCAT5 used by medical and licensed health care professionals to evaluate a suspected concussion have been digitized for easy access and can be used on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. The course is accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and UBC. Physicians can claim 2.0 hours for completing the course.

To begin your free CATT accredited program for medical professionals, access the French or English course at
—Shelina Babul, PhD
Associate Director, Sports Injury Specialist, BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit, BC Children’s Hospital
Director, CHIRPP, BC Children’s Hospital
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UBC

Suggested reading
Own the podium. National concussion guidelines for high performance sport in Canada. Accessed 24 May 2019.

Ellis MJ, Bauman S, Cowle S, et al. Primary care management of concussion in Canada. Paediatrics & Child Health 2019;24:137-142.

Harmon KG, Clugston JR, Dec K, et al. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine position statement on concussion in sport. Br J Sports Med 2019;53:213-225.

This post has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board.

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