Every 3 minutes, someone in Canada acquires a brain injury. Since there are no drugs or techniques that can cure a brain injury, prevention is the only way to reduce its prevalence.
WHAT CAUSES BRAIN INJURY?
From slipping on a patch of ice to falling off a bike, there are numerous ways a person can sustain a brain injury. Below are some of the most common causes.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT BRAIN INJURY?
Because there are so many different ways to acquire brain injuries, it might seem impossible to prevent them. However, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your risk.
Since so many brain injuries in Canada are sustained while playing sports, preventing sports injuries is one of the BrainLove campaign’s priorities. To prevent brain injuries while playing sports:
Get your concussion symptoms checked out rather than ignoring them and returning to play. Concussions are brain injuries.
Wear a helmet when biking, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, or participating in any activity when a hard crash is a risk.
Ensure that your gear is up to safety standards.
Stay away from reckless play (e.g. attempting to injure another player) when playing hockey, football, or any other contact sport.
Encourage your team to commit to preventing brain injuries alongside other coaches and athletes across the country.
Hard falls are the greatest risk for brain injury worldwide, and are a severe health risk especially for children and older adults. We can help prevent these injuries by:
Ensuring floors and steps are clear of objects.
Improving lighting so that all areas of your home are well-lit.
Providing opportunities for healthy habits and exercise.
Booking in for regular eye appointments and balance checkups.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
Motor vehicle accidents are the second largest cause of brain injury. This includes ATVs, snowmobiles and bikes as well as cars. To reduce your risk of brain injury:
Ensure children under 8 years old sit in a car seat.
Enroll in a safety course for ATVs and snowmobiles.
Only drive when sober and focused.
Always wear a seatbelt while in motion.
Follow the rules of the road – reckless driving or speeding are not worth it.
Wear a helmet on ATVs, bikes and snowmobiles.
WHAT IMPACT CAN APPLYING THESE STRATEGIES HAVE?
While it is impossible to fully eliminate all risks, the above strategies can prevent mild head injuries and turn life-threatening brain injuries into milder ones.
By sharing these tips, it is our hope that everyone – children, the elderly, drivers, athletes, and the community at large – can understand the risks and better protect themselves. With your help, we can work together as a community to create a safer, healthier Canada.
Please be sure to tag us and use the hashtag #BrainLoveCA.
- “Heading in Soccer: Dangerous Play?”, January 2012, Neurosurgery. (Link)
- “Head Injuries As a Cause of Road Travel Death in Cyclists, Pedestrians and Drivers”, June 2018, Journal of Transport and Health. (Link)
- “Concussions Change Brains”, November 2010, McGill University Channels. (Link)
- “Preventing Falls: From Evidence to Improvement in Canadian Health Care”, 2014, Canadian Institute for Health Information. (Link)
- “Important Facts about Falls”, CDC. (Link)
- “Slips, Trips and Falls”, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services. (Link)
- “Snowmobile injuries and fatalities in children”, May 2003, NCBI. (Link)
- “Age-Based Risk Factors for Pediatric ATV-Related Fatalities”, November 2014, Pediatrics. (Link)
- “TBI Get the Facts”, CDC. (Link)
- “Trends in self-reported traumatic brain injury among Canadians, 2005-2014: a repeated cross-sectional analysis”, April 2017, CMAJ Open. (Link)