Heads Up! Be Alert. Be Safe. Be Aware of Concussions.

Parachute's Safe Kids Week 2013 shines spotlight on concussions

Twelve-year-old Nathan Fraser suffered a severe concussion during hockey practice in February 2012 when he tripped over a teammate diving for a puck and crashed head first into the ice and boards. Nathan's memory was wiped out, he lost five months of school and was so sensitive to sound and light he had to wear sunglasses and special earmuffs in his own home. After a long, slow recovery, Nathan and his family are now advocates for concussion prevention and awareness, a goal of Parachute's Safe Kids Week, May 27 to June 2.

The annual national campaign launched in the nation's capital on Monday, May 27. Parachute President and CEO Louise Logan joined with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson as he proclaimed Safe Kids Week. "I'm proud to be the first Mayor to proclaim Parachute's Safe Kids Week and I hope other cities follow our lead. It's very important that we give residents information on how to prevent and manage concussions."

"Canadian parents are right to be concerned about the serious issue of concussions," Ms. Logan said. "Parachute is pleased to be able to provide easy access to the tools parents need to feel confident they're doing everything they can to prevent, recognize and manage a concussion. I'd like to congratulate the many communities across Canada who are holding events and raising awareness of this issue by participating in Parachute's Safe Kids Week."

Parachute has developed and is sharing numerous resources of interest to athletes, parents, coaches and other interested individuals, available on its website (parachutecanada.org/programs/item/safe-kids-week-2013-resources).

The three key themes for the week are:

Be alert: know that concussions are brain injuries. Take them seriously and understand that symptoms are numerous, can vary among individuals and over time.

Be safe: get the tools to help prevent and identify concussions. The Parachute website has resources and links, including our Concussion Toolkit, the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (SCAT3), and links to Hockey Canada's smartphone apps.

Be aware: know how to manage concussions. If a child has a suspected concussion, get him or her out of the game and to a doctor. Follow return to play guidelines.

Fortunately, after months of rest and slow step-by-step return to activity, Nathan recovered enough to pull on his skates and helmet again but his days of contact hockey are over.