Ontario Concussion Rates Higher than Previously Reported

October 22, 2019

Ontario’s Concussion Epidemic

Concussions are a common recurrence in Ontario but a recent study found that the province’s concussion rates may be higher than expected. A team of researchers with Toronto’s University Health Network reviewed patient data collected between the years of 2008 and 2016. The researchers reviewed the number of suspected and diagnosed concussions treated during the 8 year time period and the results were shocking.

Dr. Mark Bayley, a concussion rehabilitation specialist and the study’s co-author stated that previous research suggested that Ontario’s concussion rate was approximately 600 per every 100,000 people. However, Dr. Bayley and colleagues found that the actual rate was twice as high. The data compiled by the Institute of Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (ICES) provided them with a large sample size of 1.3 million concussion patients. Based on this sample size, the annual average concussion rate was 1,153 per 100,000 people; approximately 1.2% of Ontario’s population.

Demographics and Concussion Rates  

Ontario’s concussion rates are high but do factors such as age, gender and geographic location have anything to do with it? Based on the study, children under the age of 5 were most likely to experience a concussion along with women above the age of 65. However, men with concussions were more likely to struggle in comparison to women as a whole.

Geographic location was another factor that was identified in this study. Dr. Bayley stated that those living in remote communities were more likely to experience a concussion than those residing in cities. The rate of concussions being as high as 1,400 per 100,000 people in rural areas. While the reason behind this is unknown, Dr. Bayley mentioned that it may have to do with the increase of jobs involving heavy equipment and the reliance of travelling by car.

What is known is that most of Ontario’s rehabilitation resources are focused in urban areas where the need is not as great. Access to care is crucial to combat Ontario’s concussion epidemic and some of the ways that this can happen is by opening more medical clinics as well as increasing telephone and video access to health resources. Educating the public about signs, symptoms and symptom management may help Ontario’s residents.

Since education is the first step to healing, visit to learn more about concussions and the different treatment options you can undergo including neurofeedback.