June is Brain Injury Awareness Month
Most people don’t know that brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability for Canadians who are under the age of 45. In Ontario there are almost a half a million people living with a brain injury and 18,000 new cases are added every year. Acquired brain injury (ABI) is 15 times more common than spinal cord injuries, 30 times more common than breast cancer and 400 times more common than HIV/AIDS. Statistics show us that the need to support people living with the effects of brain injury is great.
Purpose of Brain Injury Awareness Month
The purpose of having a Brain Injury Awareness Month is to bring awareness to the effects and causes of acquired brain injury across Canada. Brain injuries can happen to anyone at any time and the financial, social and emotional effects can be staggering. Often ABI has been called the “invisible disability” because usually the person still looks the same, and everything on the surface seems normal, but there’s something different about them. Unlike wearing a cast, people with ABI can go unnoticed.
How do brain injury associations help?
Organizations like the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) consistently enhance the lives of individuals living with brain injury, as well as their families, friends and professionals, province wide. Through their Support Services Program, they coordinate a provincial Peer Mentoring Support Program and offer individual support and advocacy through their 1 800 helpline.
In their Training Department, OBIA has developed and now runs a series of training courses on acquired brain injury rehabilitation for healthcare professionals, survivors and caregivers. To date, close to 10,000 professionals have completed their training programs. They also continue to expand their resource library and media centre, which now houses more than 10,000 articles, books, and DVDs on brain injury and community integration.
The OBIA completed a study in 2012 regarding brain injury issues. Their study revealed the following:
1. Overwhelming, motor vehicle accidents account for the vast majority of ABI’s comprising up to 55%
40% Car Accidents
3% Motorcycle Accidents
2% Recreational Vehicles (ATV’s, etc)
7% Pedestrians hit by cars
17% Illness affecting the brain
2. More than 80% of ABI’s result in amnesia
3. Nearly 15% of respondents indicated that it took longer than 6 months to learn of their brain injury, 4% of which stated it being more than 5 years.
4. More than 30% of respondents indicated that it took longer than 6 months after being diagnosed to start rehabilitation, with a combined 21% stating it taking longer than 1 year and 9% taking more than 5 years.
5. People with an ABI can have trouble with hearing, vision, memory, comprehension, decision making, learning new information, seizures, dizziness, walking, pain, fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, depression, trouble sleeping, doing housework, child caring, shopping, bathing, dressing, cooking, driving, and taking care of their own finances.
6. People with an ABI have difficulty accessing the community, maintaining friendships, and making new friends.
7. 87% of people with an ABI are not employed for pay.
8. Caring for a person with an ABI can place tremendous financial, emotional, and physical stress on the family or support person.
How can you help?
During Brain Injury Awareness Month we ask that you consider making a donation to the Ontario Brain Injury Associate (OBIA) or your local brain injury support centre. You can also become involved with grassroot brain injury associations and listen to the survivor stories and family members speak about the support and guidance they have received.
We make our communities better when we help the people in them.
The Month of June
With offices in Toronto, Burlington, Huntsville, Lindsay, Markham, Midland, Orillia, Bowmanville, Oakville and Whitby, the personal injury lawyers at Will Davidson LLP are well positioned to serve clients suffering from brain injuries throughout Southern Ontario.