While concussions to Eric Lindros and Sidney Crosby make the headlines, they represent only the tip of the concussion iceberg. Each year 160,000 Canadians suffer some kind of brain injury and over a million live with the effects each day. And now, the federal government is taking action.
The Canadian government recently announced a $1.4 million investment to develop a strategy for tackling our growing number of concussions and brain injuries. The new plan will focus on awareness, prevention, treatment, and recovery. Scientific research and hard medical evidence will be the foundation of the program.
Although they exist in some provinces like Ontario, there is no common approach to addressing concussions in Canada. The new guidelines and protocols being developed are aimed at protecting young athletes because they’re the most prone to suffering concussions.
The number of brain injuries in Canada increased by 40% between 2004 and 2014. Reports from hospital emergency rooms across the country also show that these injuries account for 64% of visits among 10-18 year-olds. Parents, teachers, coaches, and healthcare professionals need to know what to look for and what to do. The guidelines will be a great new resource.
"In Canada, greater awareness is needed about concussions and their related potential dangers, particularly among those involved in sports and recreation activities,” says Jane Philpott, Canada’s Minister of Health. “With comprehensive national concussion guidelines and protocols, children and their parents, athletes, coaches and health care professionals will have the information they need to help prevent concussions and manage them carefully when they occur."
A concussion can take a lot out anyone and the recovery period is often long and difficult with many side effects. For a child or young adult, it’s a more worrying situation – their brains are still growing and developing. The new national strategy is a step in the right direction to improving concussion treatment and prevention.