June is recognized as national Brain Injury Awareness Month. More than one million people in Canada are currently living with a brain injury, and unfortunately that number continues to grow with each passing day. From 2014 to 2016 in New Brunswick, 6 per cent of unintentional injuries reported by the NB Trauma Program resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Whether the victim is a senior, child, or infant, TBIs can have a lasting impact on long-term health.
TBIs can include serious injuries such as bleeding in or around the brain, major scalp lacerations or skull fractures. A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. A concussion can be caused by a blow to the head, face, neck, or body that causes a sudden jarring of the brain within the skull.
“Anyone with a suspected concussion should stop all physical activity right away and be assessed by a physician or a nurse practitioner as soon as possible in order to get a definitive diagnosis,” said Dr. Tushar Pishe, Interim Medical Director of the NB Trauma Program. “Afterwards, it is equally important that all concussed individuals follow a medically supervised, individualized and gradual return to cognitive and physical activities plan.”
The NB Trauma Program is launching a new Concussion Recognition Tool designed specifically for those without a health-care background. This simple tool provides a step-by-step process to recognize and respond to a suspected concussion at the time of the incident. The NB Trauma Program also recommends the use of properly fitting helmets for activities like cycling, skateboarding, hockey, football, skiing, ice skating and in-line skating to help protect your skull and brain. Although a properly fitted and correctly worn helmet does not prevent a concussion, it can reduce the risk of a serious head injury by up to 85 per cent.
This summer, the NB Trauma Program encourages everyone to learn more about how you can protect your brain. Whether you are a senior, a concerned parent or a young New Brunswicker, we all have a role to play in injury prevention.
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