FREDERICTON (GNB) – Today marks New Brunswick’s first annual Concussion Awareness Day, raising awareness of the severity of concussions and the need to reduce, prevent and manage them to improve safety in sports and physical activity.

“The sport and recreation sectors have put a lot of effort into making sports ‘concussion safe’ by promoting safety and the recognition and management of concussions,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace. “I would like to thank recreation and sport leaders, coaches, officials, athletes and participants, and volunteers who have been working hard to make their activities safe and positive for everyone involved.”

Concussions are a serious public health issue due to their frequency and potential for serious effects on brain health, especially among young people.

“Education and awareness are the first steps in ensuring our students are able to engage in healthy and safe physical activity,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “The education system has worked with partners across government to ensure school staff have the training and knowledge they need to support students who are dealing with concussions. This includes updated Return to Learn protocols in schools that are evidence-based and reflect best practices, such as proper identification and management.”

“It is very important that everyone involved in children’s sport be able to recognize when a small bump is actually something much more serious,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “Some symptoms may not appear for hours, or even days, after an injury. It typically takes two to four weeks to recover from concussion, and the first 48 hours are the most critical.”

A national concussion awareness tool kit is available online.