To mark the inaugural Concussion Awareness Week, Sport Yukon held a virtual Concussion Awareness Huddle on Sept. 29.
Giving talks during the huddle was Dr. Victor Lun, who practices Sport and Exercise Medicine at the University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre. Lun also oversees the Sport Medicine Centre Acute Concussion Clinic.
Local speakers included Olympic weightlifter Jeane Lassen, and Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle program leader and coach Eric Porter.
Porter said it’s important to start having discussions about concussions since, in his experience, there isn’t much awareness around the issue in the territory.
“You see, even in my job as a sports instructor and being involved in the community, you see a lot of youth getting head injuries,” said Porter. “Then it’s like we aren’t raising the concern immediately. You’re kind of just checking on them and then maybe telling them to get right back in the play.”
Lassen said although more is being learned about brain injuries like concussions, there’s still more to learn.
“While we’re learning more and more about them, it’s important we catch up everyone on the best practices for protecting our brains and overall health because it’s obviously connected,” said Lassen.
“I think it’s important that people be armed with the best information out there.”
In arming people with best practices, Lassen said it’s important to realize the no pain, no gain mentality doesn’t work.
“It took me a whole sports career to understand it’s not what you can do, it’s what you can recover from,” said Lassen. “There’s no harm in taking a break and reevaluating. If you push beyond that threshold, there could be a lot of time wasted coming back from injury.”
Porter said it doesn’t even need to be on the playing field for a concussion to occur.
“It doesn’t take much,” said Porter. “It’s just a brain shaking inside your skull. It doesn’t take much physical trauma but the brain is delicate.”
Concussion Awareness Week is running nationally from Sept. 27 to Oct. 2. The inaugural week prompts educational events and increases the focus on concussion awareness across the country.
Porter said it’s important for all jurisdictions to have the same messaging.
“You’re going to find a lot of people’s stories and experiences all lineup and have a lot of common ground,” said Porter. “A lot of the symptoms you get, loss of appetite, lack of sleep, all that stuff you can’t predict, that’s the stuff we need to talk about.
“Everyone’s going to have to get on board.”
Lassen said it’s important that everyone in the community, coaches, athletes and parents are aware of the symptoms.
“There’s no question that concussions are scary but that’s not a reason to not participate,” said Lassen. “The reason we talk about it is to protect people when they participate and have a collective community of people looking out for each other.”
Sept. 29 was also the debut of a new Yukon-made short film featuring Lassen and Porter in getting the word out about concussions.
Sport Yukon then launched its Safe Sport webpage and Concussion Awareness resources for athletes, parents, coaches and teachers.
Contact John Tonin at firstname.lastname@example.org