You only have 1 brain: keep it safe!

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month.

Normally, Blue Heron Support Services [the Alberta Brain Injury Network] would be out at local schools making presentations to teach children how to be safe. They would be hosting, or co-hosting, bike roadeos, and taking part in the Gotcha Being Good Campaign when it runs [it involves rewarding children when they are seen practicing good safety rules].

But then this COVID pandemic hit so staff cannot visit the schools for presentations, so they are looking at other ways – print and social media – to get the word out.

Michelle Hill is one of the Brain Injury Network Service co-ordinators, she is based in High Prairie. The others are Kira MacPherson and Ruth Styles in the Nampa – Peace River area. Hill also covers Smoky River.

Staff not only works with children to promote safety and prevention of brain injury, but with clients.

“We just want to let people know if they suffered a brain injury they can contact us,” says Hill.

“They” are adults with an acquired brain injury.

Although offices are closed until further notice due to the pandemic, staff still meet clients, and answer phones, texts and e-mails.

Their aim is to gain insight into the needs of adults with acquired brain injury, maximize the use of existing services, and, identify and advocate for the needed resources in the region.

They assist survivors and their families/caregivers in determining and addressing their personal support requirements.

Some supports include developing and maintaining daily living skills on an as needed basis to promote and maximize each individual’s independence.

Workers provide training to adult survivors of brain injury who wish to reside in their own homes. They provide follow-up support to survivors for whom short-term support in required.

Possible areas of service provision include:

  • Development of problem-solving and/or decision making skills.
  • Development and maintenance of good medical/health practices including nutrition, exercise, etc.
  • Co-ordination of personal support networks with an emphasis on promoting and liaising with community services.
  • Development of self-advocacy skills.
  • Finding/maintaining housing.
  • Promotion of daily living skills.

Be a Safe Rider

  • Obey all signs and signals.
  • Walk your bike across the street.
  • Cross the street at crosswalks or the corner.
  • Never ride after dark or in bad weather.
  • Stop and look left, right and left again before entering traffic [roadways, driveways, sidewalks, alleys or parking lots].
  • Stay on the very right-hand side of the road and ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Always ride single file.
  • Never ride “double” or hang onto moving vehicles.
  • Wear bright clothes and reflective gear to help cars see you better.
  • Make sure your bike is the right size and is in good condition.
  • Always watch for pedestrians and vehicles.
  • A child under nine years of age should be accompanied by an adult or older child while riding in traffic.

By the numbers

2% The total weight of the brain in an average human body.
20% The amount of energy consumed by the human body.
30% The number of brain injuries in Canada suffered by children and youth. Acquired brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability among young children.
80% Eight of 10 provinces currently have helmet laws. Saskatchewan and Quebec are the exceptions.
85% Research has revealed that bike helmets decrease the risk of brain injury by this amount.

Did you know?

  • Your brain generates about 12-25 watts of electricity? This is enough to power a low wattage LED light bulb.
  • The human brain is spongy to the touch, weighs about three pounds and looks kind of like the head of a cauliflower?
  • Your helmet should be replaced every 3-5 years? Reasoning being that the foam degrades due to sun, heat, salty sweat and other environmental factors, added to the usual knocks of regular cycling.
  • A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen or nutrients? Brain cells begin to die in minutes. A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can reduce brain damage and complications.
  • You need to replace your helmet if you have had an impact to your head?
  • An acquired brain injury is a disruption in brain function that occurs after birth? It isn’t hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.

Parts of the Brain and their functions

Frontal lobe: Thinking, memory, behaviour and movement.
Parietal lobe: Language and touch.
Temporal lobe: Hearing, learning and feelings.
Occipital lobe: Sight.
Cerebellum: Balance and co-ordination.
Brain Stem: Breathing, heart rate and temperature.

Contact the Service Co-ordinators

Michelle Hill 1-780-536-7085
Kira MacPherson 1-780-933-1157
Ruth Styles 1-780-933-5342

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