As another school year winds down, the summer months could mean hours of outdoor play for your child. It’s important to remember that when a child is having fun, he or she may not remember to put safety first.
A coach development manager with Rugby Canada says no sport is risk-free, but the priority of coaches, parents, schools, match officials and other involved parties must be the safety of the players. Data collected by the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program indicates that 449 rugby players between ages 15 and 19 suffered brain injuries in Ontario and other regions in the two years from 2012 through 2014. Discussions about concussions and brain injuries followed the recent death of a Grade 12 rugby player in another province.
In collaboration with other entities, Brain Trust Canada runs various programs in Ontario and other provinces to create safety awareness for parents and children about the protection offered by bike helmets. The number of brain injuries suffered by children who get into bicycle accidents without head protection is alarming. A spokesperson for the Trust says bicyclists wearing proper bike helmets can avoid approximately 85 per cent of brain injuries.
When small children suffer head trauma, it is often difficult to judge the severity, and in many cases, a parent might not even realize that a child suffered such an injury. If there is no evidence of a bump, bruise or laceration, brain injuries may go unnoticed. Fortunately, Ontario parents can prevent most head injuries by using proper car seats, seat belts and cycling helmets while many steps can be taken to make the home child-safe.
Brain Injury Canada says about one million Canadians live with some type of brain injury. The negligence of others caused many of those brain injuries. Car accidents, sports injuries, violence and trip or slip-and-fall accidents are often alleged to have been caused by others when personal injury lawsuits are filed in the civil courts of Ontario.
Although there have been significant advances in various medical fields, the brain remains a dark area. Dr. Adrian Owen, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University, Ontario says the manners in which different types of brain injuries affect the victims need continued research. These mysteries were underscored again with the recent death of a police officer who was unresponsive for 30 years.
More and more athletes in Ontario and other provinces and territories want action to be taken by sports authorities to prevent head injuries. Many ex-participants in contact sports suffer the long-term consequences of multiple brain injuries caused by concussions. Arland Bruce is one victim who is now fighting for compensation of concussion-related damages.
The Alzheimer Society says over 564,000 people in Ontario and other provinces and territories in Canada have dementia. Reportedly, Alzheimer's is one of over 1,000 diseases, injuries and disorders that affect the brain. Canadians are said to be leaders among the world's top researchers. They are seeking more information to help them to understand all the intricate workings of the brain as well as the potential disorders and brain injuries that affect it.
Concussions are a potentially severe health problem. This issue has persisted for decades because even with all the medical and scientific advances, the fact that concussions are brain injuries that could have long-term consequences is often ignored. This misconception has not changed much over the past 30-odd years. The wife of an Ontario man who suffered an undiagnosed brain injury in 1983 explained the family's suffering since then.
Although youth hockey leagues have established measures to prevent hockey players from returning to the ice too soon after concussions, ongoing research into sports-related brain injuries indicates that existing protocols may not provide enough protection. Doctors at Western University in Ontario say they studied detailed images of the brains of 15-year-old hockey players who had suffered concussions. What they found showed that players were cleared to play while they were still experiencing aftereffects of the brain injuries.