Martin was 16 years old, an excellent athlete, good student, fun to be with and very popular at his school. Elise was 15 years old, relatively shy, hard working and dedicated to becoming a doctor. Josh was a creative artist, avid environmentalist and raconteur. Amanda was 14, loved to party – more than her parents were comfortable with but she was getting by at school. Steven was 15 and struggling with overuse of alcohol that was getting in the way of his successfully completing his school year, and he had just agreed to get help.
Very different young people. From all over. One sad thing in common.
Before they could reach the next phase of their lives, their hopes and dreams and plans were derailed by a brain injury – a concussion. Martin took a head shot while playing hockey. Elise fell when climbing up a ladder to the roof of her house. Josh collided with another bicyclist when riding to school. Amanda got into a car driven by a friend – and was not wearing her seatbelt when the accident happened.
Steven got drunk and got into a fight – he was knocked out.
Many of these unfortunate outcomes may have been prevented. Many of these young people could have had a better recovery if they knew what a concussion was and what to do about it. Martin for example, continued to play because he did not want to let his team down and took another hit to the head – ending up in hospital for a few days.
The life success of young people depends in great part on how their brains function. After all, that is where civilization lives. Our brains chart our lives for us, they do all our thinking, they house our emotions, they control our bodies, they signal us when something is wrong and they direct and guide our behaviors. So, clearly, they are very important to all of us.
It is really important to have a SMART BRAIN and to help us do this we need to live BRAIN SMART. Part of living brain smart is learning how to protect our brains against injury and what to do if we are unlucky to get injured (this can happen even if we are doing our very best to prevent it). The first step is educating ourselves about brain injuries: how we can best try to prevent them, how to recognize them if they happen and what we should to help us recover and avoid further injury.
That is why we developed two Brain Injury Guides. One version is for young people and one for parents, coaches, educators and all those that work with youth. Find out more about living Brain Smart by clicking here. Share these links with your friends, family and adults who you hang out with. Do your best to live BRAIN SMART. The brain you protect is yours!