Shining a Light on Brain Injury

In Canada, June is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Each year national, provincial, and local associations run campaigns to increase awareness about the prevalence of brain injury; the obstacles that exist for those with brain injury; and the need for more services and support at all stages of recovery.

The 2022 national collaborative Brain Injury Awareness Month campaign is focused on shining a light on this often-invisible disability. Brain injury associations across Canada came together to share this universal message about a condition that affects over 1.5 million people in unique, complex ways. 

Join the campaign by following along on social media. Use the hashtags #BrainInjuryAwarenessMonth, #ShineALightOnBrainInjury, #BrainInjuryAcrossCanada #BIAM and # BIAM2022, when sharing your own experiences or posts.

Some Facts

With over 20,000 Canadians being hospitalized each year with an acquired traumatic brain injury there is a huge need for public education around the prevention and impact of traumatic brain injuries. Government of Canada

Brain injury happens in an instant. It does not discriminate, nor does it only impact one person. Brain injury changes the lives of people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities, leaving little time to adapt. This disability lasts a lifetime and often leaves many with feelings of grief, loneliness, anxiety, depression, and an inability to cope. The Ontario Brain Injury Association is committed to serving all Ontarians, driving change, and increasing accessibility by reducing barriers for vulnerable and marginalized people across the province.

Throughout June, in honour of Brain Injury Awareness Month, OBIA will be releasing a second series of multi-media podcasts titled Sharing Experiences with Concussion/TBI. This series was developed in collaboration with Headsup Concussion Advocacy Network. The series has five episodes led by leading experts in the field and consists of a group of individuals who have sustained brain injuries discussing their experiences in a safe and supportive environment.

Did you know that:

  • There are more Canadians living with an acquired brain injury (ABI) than those living with multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injuries and breast cancer combined
  • 452 Canadians suffer a serious brain injury every day (1 person every 3 minutes!). This figure does not include mild brain injury statistics
  • There are two types of ABIs: non-traumatic and traumatic
  • Traumatic brain injuries are caused by forces outside the body (for example motor vehicle accidents, assault, sports injuries) and non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by something that occurs inside the body (such as a stroke, brain tumour or substance abuse)
  • Every person will respond differently to an ABI, but common impacts include physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural changes

(Source: Brain Injury Association of Canada)

What can be done to prevent an ABI from occurring in the first place?

  • Wearing a seatbelt and securing children in proper car seats for their age and size
  • Wearing the correct helmet for sports like cycling, hockey, baseball and skiing
  • Taking precautions to prevent falls in children and the elderly (ie. installing handrails, removing tripping hazards, safety gates for children around stairs)
  • If a previous head injury has occurred (even if a seemingly mild concussion) extra care should be taken to protect the individual from further head injuries as a prior brain injury may make the individual more susceptible to future brain injury.

How do you support someone suffering from an ABI?

  • Be patient with your loved one. They will likely find the uncertainties of brain injury recovery unsettling and frustrating
  • Don’t expect your loved one to be the same person they were before their injury. Recovery will take time.
  • Rehabilitation is key for recovery but should be done under the advice and guidance of qualified medical professionals with support and encouragement from family and friends
  • Don’t take it personally if your loved one is rude or abrupt with you. This is a common symptom of someone suffering from an ABI
  • Look after yourself so you can look after your loved one

Support in Waterloo Wellington

The Brain Injury Association of Waterloo-Wellington (BIAWW) is a charitable organization devoted to providing advocacy, education, connections, and empowerment for individuals with acquired brain injury and their families in the Waterloo-Wellington region.

Again this year, they have the “BIAWW Walk, Run and Roll” fundraising event. Participants are invited to walk, run, jog, bike, and wheel for a great cause. You can register as an individual, as a family or get a team together! Participate any/all days from June 1 to June 30. Choose your own route through your neighbourhood or grab your family and check out the many walking paths in your community.

Register HERE

register here

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