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Brain Injury Awareness

 Water Safety - Richard LouisLogo Test

By Dr. Richard Louis, Injury Prevention Coordinator, NB Trauma Program

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month and the New Brunswick Trauma Program is dedicated to raising awareness about acquired brain injuries- not only in June, but all year long. An acquired brain injury is defined as an insult to the brain that occurs after birth rather than as part of a genetic or congenital disorder. It may result in impaired cognitive, physical, emotional and/or behavioural functioning. Types of brain injuries include contusions, skull fractures and anoxic brain injuries. However, the most common type of traumatic brain injury is a concussion.

A concussion is a brain injury which can be caused by any blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body which causes a sudden jarring of the head. Since a concussion cannot be seen on routine x-rays or CT scans, it is diagnosed by the history of how the injury occurred and the symptoms the person is having.

Common concussion symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling dazed
  • Double / blurry vision or loss of vision
  • Poor coordination or balance
  • Nausea and /or vomiting
  • Poor concentration

Anyone who experiences these symptoms should immediately stop all physical activity and consult a healthcare provider as soon as possible. If the person has worsening symptoms such as vomiting more than twice or having a seizure after the injury you should call 911 immediately for emergency assistance.

Did you know?

  • Only 10% of all concussions involve loss of consciousness.
  • Concussion signs and symptoms may not appear until hours or days later.
  • Concussions may go untreated because symptoms are often underreported or unrecognized.

Brain injury prevention:Bike Safety 3

Risk is part of life. While it's impossible to eliminate it completely, there are preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of getting an acquired brain injury.

  • The goal is not to scare people away from participating in activities that present potential risks. Instead, today's safety professionals are encouraging people to take smart risks by familiarizing themselves with the various risks that are associated with an activity and choosing to manage that risk in order to help prevent injuries.

    For example, helmets are effective against certain types of head injuries such as skull fractures but they do not prevent concussions. This fact should be taken into account when participating in high-risk sports to encourage coaches, parents and athletes to learn about effective ways to prevent concussions. While there is no "concussion-proof" helmet, a properly fitted and correctly worn bike helmet can help decrease the risk of serious head injury by up to 85%.

There's an app for that!ConcussionEdApp

  • Parachute Canada has collaborated with the Canadian Concussion Collaborative and the Public Health Agency of Canada to createConcussion Ed-a free mobile app providing Canadians with access to critical concussion resources. The app informs Canadians on how to recognize symptoms, when to see a healthcare professional, how to manage a concussion and guidelines for returning to sports and physical activity. The Concussion Ed app is available in English and French in the Apple App Store as well as Google Play for Android devices

Coming together

The consequences of an acquired brain injury affect not only the individuals themselves, but their friends, family and caregivers as well. Fortunately, up to 95% of all injuries are predictable and preventable. By continuing the conversation around safety, we can all play a role in helping to prevent this and other types of injuries.

For more information on injury prevention, visit

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