Imagine not being able to remember a name or a face of a lifelong friend. Imagine not remembering whether your socks or shoes go on first. Imagine not remembering that you turned your oven on, or to take your pills in the morning. Imagine what it would be like to rely on someone else, every minute and every day of the rest of your life.
With the hockey season fresh in our minds and the football season upon us, we have and will be seeing our fair share of hard physical hits that leave players injured and out-of-the-game. But do we really take a moment to think about the injuries that these 'hard hits' can cause? What about the people that live with the effects of these hits long after the fact?
This month is Brain Injury Awareness Month and the Saskatchewan chapter is increasing awareness by inviting the public to become informed about the effects and causes of brain injury. Acquired brain injuries are not only the result of sport. They are caused by automobile accidents, slips and falls, ATV and bicycle accidents, slips and something as simple a child falling from a shopping cart. Additionally, health related incidents that cause a disruption of oxygen flow to the brain or conditions such as strokes, near drowning, cardiac arrest, aneurysms, meningitis, drug and alcohol abuse and tumours can also result in brain injuries.
Brain injury is the number one killer and disabler of persons under the age of 44. In Canada, approximately 55,000 individuals incur a traumatic brain injury each year, with 2,500 of those being from Saskatchewan. Brain injury occurs suddenly and often without warning. In an instant, a life can be changed.
Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association states that "The brain is an extremely complex organ. An injury to the brain can result in a variety of effects with varying levels of severity, and can have a devastating impact on a person's life. Although each individual is unique, the symptoms resulting from a brain injury often have similarities. Some of these symptoms can include difficulty with memory loss, impaired reasoning skills, and a tendency towards one track thinking."
Think First is an organization that reminds people to consider the safety risks involved with activities. They state that most accidents are not accidents, but predictable, preventable events. They encourage not only kids, but adults as well, to be active and ensure they receive proper training, wear safety gear and assess the risk. They ask parents to act as role models and promote safe behaviour.
The Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association provides support and services to brain injury survivors and their families, while also seeking to eradicate brain injuries by educating the public about how to prevent them. They state that "Simple practices can prevent brain injuries: Play safely, drive defensively and make wise recreational choices. Make it a habit to wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet can reduce brain injuries for cyclists by as much as 88 percent."
For more information on Brain Injury Awareness month, brain injuries and support in our area, visit www.sbia.ca