Concussion and Visual Impairments


“Concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head, neck, face, or body resulting in a sudden shaking or jarring of the brain inside the skull” (Parachute, 2017).

Reduced visual functioning is a common characteristic of concussion. The related symptoms such as blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and visual fatigue can be induced by typical activities, such as reading, playing sports, using a computer, or working under overhead lighting.

Concussion symptoms can be more challenging to recognize in those with visual impairments. In the case of an individual with low vision, a small to moderate fluctuation in visual functioning may easily go unnoticed. For an individual who is blind, changes in visual functioning do not apply, potentially making concussion symptoms challenging to identify.

These resources are meant to provide additional information and considerations for when an individual with a visual impairment sustains a concussion. They are designed to be used alongside general concussion protocols from Parachute, Canada’s national charity dedicated to injury prevention, as well as Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT), an online educational concussion resource page. The resources are meant for reference use by healthcare professionals wanting more information on concussion management in those who are blind or visually impaired, individuals who are blind or visually impaired, or parents of children who are blind or visually impaired for extra information to possible modifications and accommodations to concussion management.

Resources:

Generic Concussion Resources:

Parachute 
Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT)

Vision Impairment Specific Concussion Resources:

Return to Sport Considerations:

Return to Sport Infographic.pdf
Return to Sport Document.pdf
Return to Sport One-pager.pdf

Return to School Considerations:

Return to School Infographic.pdf
Return to School Document.pdf
Return to School One-pager.pdf

Return to Work Considerations:

Return to Work Infographic.pdf
Return to Work Document.pdf
Return to Work One-pager.pdf

Recognition:

We would like to thank and recognize the work of our Concussion in Athletes who are Blind and Visually Impaired Working Group as well as others who have contributed to or reviewed these materials.

Working Group Members, Contributors, and Reviewers:

Dr. Shelina Babul, PhD, BC Children’s Hospital, UBC
Natalie Barcelo PT, M.Sc. Candidate, McGill University
Dr. Amanda Black, PH.D CAT(C), Sport Injury Prevention Centre, University of Calgary
Jane Blaine, CEO, Canadian Blind Sports Association
Dr. Lindsay Bradley MD, CCFP(SEM), Dip Sport Medicine, Carleton Sport Medicine Clinic, National Goalball teams
Meghan Buttle, MSc. PT, Dip. Sport PT, Physiotherapist with Canadian Sport Institute Ontario and CBSA
Isabelle Cossette PT, Dip. Sport PT, MSc., PCN Physio
Stephanie Cowle, Parachute Canada
Dr. Kristine Dalton OD., Ph.D., University of Waterloo
Jenny Dea, PT, MSc. Physio with ParaAlpine Canada
Sofeya Devji, M.A. (Education). BC School District #8
Dr. Gordon Douglas MD
Shane Esau, M.Kin, CSEP-CEP, Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, University of Calgary
Anna Guenther, University of Waterloo, Canadian Blind Sports Association
Codi Isaac PT, MScPT. Lead Concussion Physiotherapist, Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic
Dr. James Kissick MD (Sports Med), IPC Sports Medicine Committee
Lynn Langille, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Orientation and Mobility Instructor
Agnes Makowski PT, Athletics Edge Sports Medicine, Physiotherapy advisor – Skate Canada
Haley Olinyk, Athlete, Canadian Blind Sports Association
Dr. Kathryn Schneider PT, Ph.D., Sport Injury Prevention Centre, University of Calgary
Juliette Teodoro, M.Sc. Candidate, University of Waterloo
Dr. Adam Wilton, PhD, COMS, Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired, Vancouver, BC
Anne Marie Yeboah, M.Sc. Candidate, University of Waterloo