Two years ago, an 18-year-old woman in Ontario was hospitalized in critical condition. She was a rear seat passenger in a car that was involved in a crash that left her barely alive. Her aorta and bladder were torn, her lungs collapsed, and she had a fractured pelvis. Doctors had little hope because she suffered massive brain injuries that left her with bleeding on the brain, and she spent the following six weeks in a coma.
Heading into winter, people across Canada, including Ontario, will be at a higher risk of slips or trips that lead to falls. Safety authorities say falls cause most brain injuries, and with the slippery conditions caused by ice and snow, they can happen at home, workplaces, shopping malls, restaurants, grocery stores and at entertainment events. Slippery surfaces could include sidewalks, stairways and interior walkways, as well as potential slip-and-trip hazards inside stores.
The Public Health Agency of Canada released the findings of an online survey to determine the level of knowledge residents in Ontario and other provinces have about concussion and its dangers. Authorities are concerned about the outcome. It indicated that about one half of all the respondents have little or no knowledge of the symptoms, prevention or available help when it comes to brain injuries.
Organizations that advocate for people who are living with the consequences of head trauma are working to create more awareness. They say brain injuries are typically associated with automobile accidents and sports-related injuries while these types of injuries are much more widespread than that. A spokesperson for the Ontario Brain Injury Association says lives are often changed in seconds when people suffer blows to their heads.
A concern that has been mentioned often in recent media reports involves repeated head injuries. A neurologist at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto says that more Canadians suffer brain injuries every year than the combined total of those affected by HIV/AIDS, MS, breast cancer and spinal cord injuries. She says many brain injuries go unreported because they seem mild, but even repeated mild brain injuries can have severe consequences.
When anyone in Ontario or elsewhere receives a blow to the head in a car accident, on the sports field or due to an assault, the consequences could be life-changing. Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, could cause cognitive problems that might resolve within days or weeks, but could last for months, and might even be permanent. It could prevent the victim from returning to work or school, and he or she may struggle to cope with normal activities and relationships.
The grandmother of an Ontario teenager is telling others the story of the traumatizing time her family is going through, hoping to create awareness. It involves the assault of her 14-year-old grandson in a brutal attack by two other youths. The teenager's injuries are reported not to be life-threatening, but he is expected to suffer the consequences of serious brain injuries.
Sometimes people in Ontario and other provinces or territories suffer blows to their heads without realizing the harm that was done because symptoms might be delayed. When symptoms do appear, they might not be associated with the incident, thereby delaying the diagnosis and prompt treatment of brain injuries. The complications of brain injuries can be limited by early treatment.
Care for children with concussions worldwide, including in Ontario, will likely benefit from research done at a university in another province and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A co-author of a report that was recently released says the work done at an integrated concussion research program will assist physicians who have to deal with concussions in children. He says many cases are not reported, but the reported cases of children suffering mild traumatic brain injuries have doubled over recent years, which might be due to more awareness.
Some types of injuries after Ontario accidents affect not only the victims but also those who provide care -- often a spouse, a parent or even an adult child if the injured party is a parent. Brain injuries, for example, affect everyone around the victim because caring for that person could be extremely demanding and stressful. Caring for a loved one adds to the caregiver's usual responsibilities, and while it might be manageable at first, stress can build up, and the lack of breaks can lead to emotional exhaustion.