How traumatic brain injuries are affecting Canadians of all ages
Getting hurt, hurts — physically, emotionally, and often financially. Brain injuries add an additional layer of pain due to cognitive difficulties such as memory loss and concentration problems.
The Government of Canada’s Injury in review, 2020 edition: Spotlight on traumatic brain injuries across the life course includes, among other information, data on emergency room visits for traumatic brain and head injuries caused by events such as car accidents, slip and falls and other accidents.
Impact on Canadians
Of the 235,471 injury-related deaths between 2002 and 2016, 22.6 per cent were associated with a traumatic brain injury diagnosis. Transportation collisions, falls among seniors, and suicide among males were cited among the leading causes.
Slip and falls were the cause of almost half the traumatic brain injuries among Canadian seniors. Most of these accidents took place in the individual’s home, 20 per cent of which on stairs.
Pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents caused serious head injuries among all age groups. Half occurred crossing roads followed by injuries while walking or running on a road.
Sports and recreational accidents
The sports that resulted in concussions severe enough to need emergency department treatment were hockey, football/rugby, soccer and other ball sports. Equestrian incidents among females and cycling accidents among males were also cited.
When examining children and teens, hockey had the highest number of traumatic brain injuries relative to all injuries. Rugby also had a significant percentage of head injuries for both males and females. Sledding and equestrian activities had significant injuries, especially among females.
Concussions sustained by young athletes may seem like regular occurrences that do not warrant any alarm-raising activity but they can lead to significant repercussions if they occur repeatedly.
The risk of repeat traumatic brain injury (sub concussions, multiple concussions, and second impact syndrome) can lead to long-term cognitive deficits so proper protocols need to be followed.
A brain injury may not be labeled as “severe” but that does not mean it cannot have lasting effects on the individual. As more research is done on traumatic brain injury and the long-term effects of severe or repeated injuries, more is learned about the importance of prevention.
The Government of Canada provides detailed prevention information in a variety of areas.
In the event of a legal case following a traumatic brain injury, a thorough personal injury lawyer will be able to determine if appropriate precautions were taken. A successful legal claim may be important to maximize access to medical and rehabilitation services. If you need help, please reach out to us today.