During this week - National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Week - BrainTrust Canada and the Canadian Ski Patrol System (CSPS) have launched a partnership which includes the distribution of Concussion Cards as a prevention and management tool to all 5,000 CSPS ski patrollers across the country. The new pocket-sized concussion information cards provide a definition, symptoms and recommended management for concussion.
The program is a partnership between Kelowna-based not-for-profit organization BrainTrust Canada which specializes in brain injury, and the Canadian Ski Patrol System, a national organization that provides volunteer safety and rescue services at ski hills across Canada and supports many non-ski events. Sponsors of the program include the Kelowna Sunrise Rotary Club, Palliser Zone (CSPS) and the Dave Irwin Foundation.
"A concussion is brain injury," says Doug Rankmore, Chief Executive Officer of BrainTrust Canada. "It is a change in brain chemistry and you do not have to lose consciousness to have a serious injury. All concussions should be treated as potentially serious due to the fragility of the brain. It is unreliable to 'use your gut' to estimate the severity of the fall or blow to the head, and safer to err on the side of caution. Prevention is the only cure," explains Rankmore, "as an astounding 90 per cent of brain injuries are preventable through simple changes in behaviour such as wearing the gear, getting trained and knowing your limits."
Canadian Ski Patrol President John Leu says the cards allow CSPS patrollers to further sharpen and update their already considerable first aid skills. "For almost 70 years, highly-trained members of the Canadian Ski Patrol have been helping patients deal with concussions and these new Concussion Cards provide an easy-to-use, at-hand reference with the latest information," says Leu. "As advanced medical responders, CSPS ski patrollers are trained to stabilize, package and transport patients in some very challenging environments. The Concussion Cards bring a very useful tool to bear to backstop patrollers' expertise."
Symptoms of potential brain injury can include disrupted sleep, vision changes, irritability, ear ringing, mood changes, hypersensitivity to noise or light, fatigue, memory problems, depression, personality changes, and changes in behaviour.
BrainTrust Canada and the CSPS recommend:
- Monitor the person a minimum of 24 hours - symptoms can take hours or
days to manifest, and do not leave the person alone during this time.
- Seek medical attention immediately if any symptoms are evident.
- Return to activity should be medically supervised and gradual, i.e.
until person is symptom free (generally seven to 10 days)
Brain injury can have diverse effects - as the brain controls all major functions in the human body such as breathing, speech, motor control, emotions and executive functions such as judgment and decision making. Brain injury can result in a broad range of disabling conditions, i.e. physical (balance, speech, vision); cognitive (memory, impaired judgement); and psycho-social (depression, irritability, poor anger management).
Brain injury has been labelled an epidemic and is the greatest cause of death and disability under the age of 45, and the greatest cause of death for children under the age of 20. One in ten people are affected by brain injury, and males 16 to 24 are the highest risk age group.
BRAINTRUST CANADA ASSOCIATION
CANADIAN SKI PATROL SYSTEM