Discussion takes a look at concussions

Dr. Shelina Babul, with the B.C. Injury Research and Prevention Unit, will be sharing her expertise on concussion

Most people are unaware that concussion is brain injury. But increased awareness is growing to change that, particularly with an upcoming event Concussion in B.C. – An Invisible Epidemic May 14.

Dr. Shelina Babul, associate director/sports injury specialist with the B.C. Injury Research and Prevention Unit, will be sharing her expertise on concussion at the event at VantageOne Credit Union, presented by Nixon Wenger.

As a result of professional athletes such as Sidney Crosby, there is increased awareness about the seriousness of brain injury and the effect of repeated trauma to the brain.

Our brains are very fragile – about the consistency of Jello. And those who have had a serious concussion are more susceptible to another, especially if the new injury occurs before symptoms from the previous concussion have completely resolved. An individual could then experience a condition known as “second impact syndrome” that can result in lifelong brain injury.

Evidence suggests that youth are at a higher risk than adults, and therefore prevention and education from an early age is paramount. New tools have been developed in B.C., and at the forefront is Babul.

The new Concussion Awareness Training Toolkit (CATT) has been introduced to standardize concussion recognition, diagnosis, treatment and management.  Prevention is key, and some of the ways to reduce the chance of injury: wearing protective gear (i.e. helmets); wearing your seat belt; making your home safe (i.e. securing loose rugs); wearing sensible shoes; and ensuring a safe playground for children.

Symptoms of concussion include:

Physical: headache; blurred vision; unusual eye movements; nausea or vomiting; dizziness & lack of balance, sensitivity to light, noise, smells; fatigue & muscle weakness; seizures.

Emotional: easily irritated; sadness; emotionally imbalanced; nervousness or anxiety; abnormal sleep schedule; difficulty falling asleep.

Cognitive: inability to think clearly; confusion; feeling slowed down; inability to concentrate; inability to retain new information.

Standardized steps in the CATT to return to normal activities include:

1. No activity – mental and physical rest until person is “symptom free”.

2. Light physical and academic activity under individualized plan. If symptoms return – reduce or stop activities.

3. Gradually increase academic and sport-specific activity under individualized plan.  Reduce or stop if symptoms return.

4. Resume academic and training drills – only once cleared by a physician.

5. Full academic activity and body contact training drills – only once cleared by a physician.

6. Full academic activity and game play.

For more information the community is invited to join the presentation taking place at the VantageOne upstairs lounge May 14 at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and available in advance at Source for Sports in Vernon or at the door.

For more information, contact Magda Kapp, director of communications at BrainTrust Canada at 250-762-3233 ext. 115.