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.
Generic Concussion Resources:
Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT)
Vision Impairment Specific Concussion Resources:
Return to Sport Considerations:
Return to Sport Infographic.pdf (revised Oct. 2021)
Return to Sport Document.pdf
Return to Sport One-pager.pdf (revised Oct. 2021)
Return to School Considerations:
Return to School Infographic.pdf (revised Oct. 2021)
Return to School Document.pdf
Return to School One-pager.pdf (revised Oct. 2021)
Return to Work Considerations:
Return to Work Infographic.pdf (revised Oct. 2021)
Return to Work Document.pdf
Return to Work One-pager.pdf (revised Oct. 2021)
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.
Authors: Anna Guenther, Shelina Babul, Natalie Barcelo, Amanda Black, Lindsay Bradley, Meghan Buttle, Isabelle Cossette, Stephanie Cowle, Kristine Dalton, Jenny Dea, Sofeya Devji, Gordon Douglas, Shane Esau, Codi Isaac, Lynn Langille, Agnes Makowski, Haley Olinyk, Kathryn Schneider, Juliette Teodoro, Anne Marie Yeboah, Jane Blaine
Contributors: James Kissick, Adam Wilton