Concussions have made headlines recently in Canada. New research has emphasized the dangers and lack of awareness about head injuries and one expert says there is “an invisible epidemic” of concussions in Canada.
Shelina Babul is a sports injury specialist at the Children’s Hospital in the western province of British Columbia. She is the associate director of the hospital’s Injury Research and Prevention Unit and explains why the unit decided to create a special website to provide up-to-date information on brain injuries.
Listen‘Accurate info 24/7’
“It was the repeated calls I was getting in my office from parents saying ‘how come the coach didn’t tell me to not let him play the next day’ or ‘where do I go now,’ ‘what do I do,’ ‘how do I respond to this?’ So there was a real need to put together a tool, a one-stop shop of resources and information that was evidence-based that parents can go to, free of charge, 24/7.”
‘Concussions must be taken seriously’
The website is also designed for amateur coaches and there is a separate tool for health professionals. Babul says the most important messages are that concussions must be taken seriously, those who suffer a brain injury must get sufficient physical and cognitive rest, and just because someone looks okay, doesn’t mean they are okay. She says brain injury may be difficult to detect. Signs and symptoms may be subtle and may appear only two days later.
‘An invisible epidemic’
Concussions are a public health issue in Canada, says Babul. “I do think it’s an invisible epidemic primarily because you can’t see it. Unless you’ve gone through a concussion, you have no idea what the individual is going through.”