While concussions in contact sports and head trauma in automobile accidents are frequent subjects of conversation in Ontario, the consequences of assaults can be devastating. A mother in another province recently explained how an assault that left her son with traumatic brain injuries affected their lives. Her 21-year-old son lives in a 24-hour care facility where she spends as much time as possible to be with him.
Concussions in different types of contact sports have received extensive attention in Ontario in recent months. Many former athletes are suffering the consequences of traumatic brain injuries that went unnoticed and unaddressed when they were younger and still actively participating in sports. While authorities agree that protection against concussions is essential from the time young children start playing contact sports, some believe soccer players face unrecognized risks.
There is no shortage of information about concussions out there, but not all are accurate. Sports-related brain injuries are prevalent, and it is crucial for coaches, parents and others involved in sports in Ontario to separate myths from facts. Negligence by administrators could have legal consequences.
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.