Millions of the relatives and family members of brain injury victims share the traumatic consequences every single day. Reportedly, the number of Canadians who live with traumatic brain injuries is estimated at half a million, including many in Toronto. The lives of victims and their loved ones can change in the blink of an eye.
Road safety authorities in Ontario say increased numbers of children and adult cyclists wear helmets since legislation requires bicyclists to wear such protection. However, they also believe that fewer brain injuries will occur if even more children wear helmets. For that reason, they underscore the importance of parents setting the example by never riding their bicycles without wearing protective gear.
Parents in Toronto might not realize that children are most susceptible to suffer brain injuries that could affect them for the rest of their lives. The brain's development starts soon after conception and continues throughout life. However, because of the ongoing development, the consequences of brain injuries suffered as a child might only become evident during the teenage years. When the brain is far enough developed, the effects of childhood injuries may become apparent.
Safety advocates in Ontario have several programs and awareness campaigns in place to inform athletes and parents about the risks posed by contact sports. Parents learn that a bump to a child's head or even a vigorous shaking of the head can cause traumatic brain injuries. They are urged to look for signs and symptoms of concussions, and safety programs inform them of the consequences of repeat concussions.
Parents in Ontario might be aware of the risks of concussions if their children play contact sports like hockey. However, would they know if a toddler comes home from day care with brain injuries? A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury, and it can happen even without a blow to the head. Violent shaking of a child can cause brain trauma, and there will be no signs of injury to the head.
Many Ontario people think that only severe head trauma can have long-term consequences. The truth is that even moderate to severe brain injuries can affect the victim's life. The fact that it is not a visible scar makes living with the consequences of TBI difficult. Even close friends and family can sometimes not understand the mental and physical challenges with which brain injury victims deal every day.
Parents in Ontario whose children play contact sports like hockey or football must never overlook the safety risks related to these activities. Although most parents know about the prevalence of concussions among athletes, many write it off as a bit of dizziness, confusion and headache that lasts for a short time. However, if the child is not treated promptly, the long-term health consequences of brain injuries can be severe.
Many victims of car accidents in Ontario are left with impairments that they might not link to the crash. Head injuries can occur with or without a blow to the head. Even without impact, the whiplash movement of the head during a collision can cause brain injuries. The smashing of the brain against the inside of the skull can be as damaging as a direct impact of the head striking the windshield or another object.
Many people in Ontario do not realize that a concussion is a traumatic brain injury, and they fail to seek medical care after a car accident, fall, violent assault or head impact on a sports field. Sometimes, such brain injuries heal quickly, but it could leave a victim with post-concussion syndrome. It is unpredictable because not all concussion victims develop PCS, and symptoms can appear soon after impact or they can be delayed for weeks or months.
Child play could be rough, and although most Ontario parents may not want to be overprotective, they are advised to become familiar with signs of concussions. Sometimes, a blow or bump to the head that seems insignificant could cause brain injuries. Concussions are never to be regarded as minor because they are mild forms of traumatic brain injuries that could have long-term consequences.