Responding to growing concern about the "silent epidemic" of concussion, the CMA has launched an accredited continuing medical education (CME) course to help physicians diagnose and manage patients with this type of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A background document points out that the impact of concussion is felt across all age groups. It was estimated that almost 100,000 Canadians sustained a head injury in 2009/10, with seniors accounting for almost 20% of the total. Another 23% of the TBIs affected adolescents, with many of those concussions resulting from a sports injury.
"Concussion is a serious public health issue," the course outline states. "By the time children reach 10 years of age, 16% will have had at least one head injury requiring medical attention."
The new course, which is accredited by both the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, has five learning objectives:
- to explain how to administer a standardized concussion assessment tool;
- to discuss how to diagnose concussion in adults and children;
- to describe a plan for early management of symptoms;
- to use concussion guidelines to describe a management plan for persistent symptoms such as headaches and dizziness;
- to list essential elements relating to a plan to allow a safe return to play or school.
The course, which takes 1.5 hours to complete, is eligible for 1.5 study credits from the Royal College and CFPC.
The CMA's policy on Head Injury and Sport, adopted in 2011, notes that physicians must be vigilant when it comes to TBI symptoms. "It is important to note that a concussion can occur in any activity where a blow to the head, face or jaw, or other force to the head, occurs," it states.
The new course is a collaborative effort involving the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the CMA.