Heads Up Concussion Institute

The University of Winnipeg

Concussion, prevention, management and research

The Heads Up Concussion Institute was established in June 2012 and is sponsored by the University of Winnipeg. It is housed within the Gupta Faculty of Kinesiology and the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Health. The purpose is to provide optimal prevention, education, monitoring, treatment and research of concussions.

For a description of Signs & Symptoms of Concussion and Return to Play Protocol Download this one-page summary created by the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association.

CATA's Return to Play Protocol is outlined here:
Any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be REMOVED FROM PLAY, medically assessed, monitored for deterioration (NOT LEFT ALONE), and should NOT operate a motor vehicle.


Loss of consciousness

Neck pain Feeling like 'In a fog' Drowsiness
Seizure or convulsion Nausea or vomiting Difficulty concentrating More emotional
Amnesia Dizziness or blurred vision Difficulty remembering Irritability
Headache Balance problems Fatigue or low energy Sadness
Pressure in head Sensitivity to light or noise Confusion Nervous or anxious


Remember that problems could arise in the next 24 - 48 hours. Go to the hospital at once if the athlete:
  • has a headache that gets worse
  • has the appearance of new symptoms
  • Is very drowsy and can't be woken
  • cannot recognize people or places
  • vomits repeatedly
  • behaves unusually, seems confused or is irritable
  • has seizures
  • has weak or numb arms or legs
  • is unsteady on his/her feet
  • has slurred speech
The athlete should also:
  • Rest and avoid activity until medically cleared
  • NOT drink alcohol or take sleeping tablets/pills
  • NOT drive until medically cleared
  • Use all medication (incuding over-the-counter) with the supervision of a physician
  • NOT train or play sports or participate in any activiites with risk of further contact until medically cleared.


Athletes should not be returned to play the same day of injury. They should:

  1. Rest until asymptomatic. Rest must be both physical and mental ie. no computer games, online chats, no texting etc.)
  2. Begin with light aerobic exercise (such as stationary bike)
  3. Sport-specific exercise
  4. Non-contact training drills (start light resistance training)
  5. full contact training after medical clearance
  6. return to competition (game play)

Each of the above stages should be 24 hours or longer. If symptoms recur, the athlete should return to the previous stage. Resistance training should only be statrted in the later stages.

Medical clearance must be given prior to return to play!
CATA strongly encourages that concussion management be under the supervision of a professional sport health practitioner such as a sports physician, certified trainer, athletic therapist, and/or neuropsychologist.

Signs and Symptoms

In a June 6, 2016 interview, Dr. Glen Bergeron, Director of the Heads Up Research Institute weighs in on the mandatory helmet regulation query.  Here is a link to interview aired on Global Television:

Did you know...

  • More than 40% of child and youth injuries treated in emergency departments are sport and recreation related:
    • 31% of those in children aged five to nine years;
    • 63% of those in the 10-14 year age group; and
    • 57% of those in youth aged 15-19 years.
  • 65.5% of the emergency room visits related to sports and recreation for the 0-19 year age group were males.
  • Sports and recreational activities were the third leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) admissions in Canadian hospitals in 2003-2004.
  • In the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreational activities annually. (Canadian Medical Association. 2011)
  • Annual incidence of sports-related concussion in Canada is estimated at 300,000.
  • The likelihood of an athlete in a contact sport experiencing a concussion may be as high as 19% per season.