Concussion/Mild TBI

Concussion/mild TBI (mTBI) is the most common form of traumatic brain injury. In Ontario, almost 150,000 people are diagnosed every year with a concussion, by a family or emergency department doctor or pediatrician.

Most people will recover from a concussion within a relatively short period of time - usually a few weeks and should follow the advice of their healthcare team and allow their brain to heal. Concussion can happen to anyone from the very young to the very old, regardless of age.

Unfortunately, it can be said that there is nothing mild about mTBI, and up to 20% of people with concussion will continue to experience significant symptoms beyond the average recovery period. Thirty percent of children and youth still present symptoms after one month. Some people can have the following troublesome symptoms for months or even years::

  • post-traumatic headache 
  • sleep disturbances 
  • balance problems and dizziness 
  • cognitive impairments
  • fatigue
  • depression and anxiety

These persistent symptoms can impede a person’s return to activity including work, school and recreation/sports.

ONF funded projects

A few major activities that ONF has supported in this area include:

Working to Improve Concussion Care in Ontario

ONF has partnered with a wide range of organizations in order to improve outcomes of concussion through improved recognition, diagnosis and management. Our work in the field of concussions encompasses research, education of professionals, improving standards of care and policy development.

ONF and its partners have developed a designated website for sharing information and resources generated by our work. To view the website, please go to Concussions Ontario.

Creating Standards for Concussion Care in Ontario

In April 2016 ONF hosted over 60 concussion providers and neurotrauma experts at a Summit on Creating Standards for Concussion Clinics in Ontario. Click here to read more about the Summit. 

Concussion/mTBI Guidelines

ONF has become internationally known for its two sets of guidelines for managing concussions; one for adults (18 years and older) and one for children and youth under the age of 18 years. The two sets of guidelines focus on concussion/mild traumatic brain injury from any cause.

Adults – The Guidelines for Concussion/ mTBI and Persistent Symptoms were developed to enable health care practitioners to provide enhanced care for those 18 years of age and older who are living with the effects of the injury.

The guidelines are now in their third edition, published in June 2018. Three new features are:

- Patient and family version for each section of the guideline, containing the key information, and offering resources based on needs identified by persons with concussion.

- Indication for certain recommendations, of the evidence level being upgraded from the previous edition.

- A new interactive and searchable platform for the guidelines, making it easier for users to find the information they want.

The Adult Guidelines can be accessed here.

Pediatrics --The Guidelines for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion were released June 2014. These guidelines were developed to enable health care practitioners to provide enhance care for children and youth under the age of 18 years of age. The guidelines are also geared to educate parents and individuals working in community settings with children and youth who have sustained concussion.

The pediatric guidelines are currently being updated and the new edition will be published in 2019.
To access the current edition, go to Guidelines for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion.

ONF welcomes feedback on the Guidelines, please email us at