- June 1, 2017
- by Will Davidson LLP
Each June, Canadian brain injury advocacy groups, healthcare professionals, and brain injury lawyers recognize Brain Injury Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness of the prevalence and severity of this common affliction.
“Brain injuries can range from mild to catastrophic, but all brain injuries can have lasting effects,” said Ruth Wilcock, Executive Director of the Ontario Brain Injury Association in a June 2015 release. “Sadly, a traumatic brain injury is a lifelong condition with varying degrees of disability ranging from minor to 24/7 care. Individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury often require immediate care at a trauma centre, acute care in the hospital, intensive rehabilitation and long term extensive care by family members.”
What are brain injuries?
Brain injuries are non-degenerative and non-congenital (acquired) injuries that result in a changed or diminished state of consciousness. These injuries can impair cognitive, emotional, behavioural and physical abilities, and can result in significant social, emotional, and economic damages to the victim and their family, friends, and caregivers.
Brain injuries can happen to anyone and occur at almost any time. Common causes include car accidents, which account for more than half of all brain injuries, sports injuries, violence or domestic violence, falls or cycling accidents, and medical events such as strokes, tumours or aneurysms.
Today, there is no “cure” for brain injuries. Medications and therapies can improve the lives of injury victims, but cannot reverse the effects. Brain injury lawyers often play an important role in helping victims access the compensation they need to expedite their recovery.
Each year, approximately 50,000 Canadians sustain brain injuries, and around 11,000 die as a result. The incidence of traumatic brain injury is greater than that of multiple sclerosis, spinal injury, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer combined.
Brian injuries among young people are particularly common. Approximately 30 per cent of traumatic brain injuries are incurred by children and youth, often through participation in sports and recreational activities. Additionally, around 50 per cent of all injury deaths in children and youth are a result of blows to the head.
The effects of brain injuries vary greatly depending on who has suffered it, how severe it was, and what level of treatment they – often with the help of brain injury lawyers – have been able to secure. While a severe brain injury can immediately render a person severely disabled, the impacts of milder injuries may not surface for several years. Many professional athletes have reported memory loss, depression, and violent mood swings as a result of sustaining and playing through multiple mild brain injuries.
Research presented at the 2012 World Congress on Brain Injury found that 44 per cent of Ontario prison inmates had a history of traumatic brain injury. Another study showed that over half of Toronto’s homeless population had suffered a TBI, and that 70 per cent of those injuries had occurred before the individual became homeless.
Brain injuries are a serious, common health issue in Canadian society, often referred to as a silent killer. This June, the personal injury and brain injury lawyers at Will Davidson LLP are proud to support Brain Injury Awareness Month. Let’s work together to increase awareness and improve the resources available to brain injury victims in Ontario and across Canada.