This Father’s Day, give dad the gift that keeps on giving – his brain; forego breakfast in bed for a helmet on the head.
June is brain injury awareness month. The Calgary Brain Injury Program is asking Calgarians and Albertans to spread the message of head safety on social media using #ContainYourBrain.
I talk on the Q107 morning show a lot about being a passionate hockey mom. I go to every practice – even the ones on Saturdays at 6 a.m. I organize team bottle drives and run tournaments. My most important role as a hockey mom though, is making sure my little left-winger is wearing proper equipment – and the helmet is obviously the VIP in that stinky hockey bag. (I chose his helmet based on independent testing done at Virginia Tech University).
When spring rolls around and my son switches to playing baseball, he’s in his strawberry-red batting helmet.
I wear the nickname “Bubble Wrap Mom” with pride.
I’m always shocked when we go to outdoor rinks in the wintertime and see children and adults skating without helmets. Missing gear is a summertime problem too: Families riding their bikes but the kids are the only ones wearing helmets.
I spoke with Dr. Chantel Debert, associate professor at the University of Calgary, who is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist with a focus on traumatic brain injury and concussion, about why we should protect our heads when we’re on rollerblades, a scooter, skates or a bike. For some, it’s also key at work.
“That’s why we wear helmets; it decreases the severity of injury you’re going to have on your brain,” she said. “It acts as bubble wrap.”
Heather Murison, brain injury community case manager, stressed it is important for everyone on a family outing to wear a helmet.
“Parents need to be able to take care of their children and if they don’t have a helmet on, depending on the injury, they might not be able to take care of their children if they are not wearing one and their child has one on. I see people out all the time with their kids and the parents aren’t wearing one.”
Debert says for many people who suffer a mild traumatic brain injury, the outlook is positive.
“Eighty five to ninety per cent get better within a month following the injury so they don’t necessarily need to see a specialist, they just need to do the right things initially to make sure they recover appropriately. It’s only the small percentage that have symptoms beyond that,” she said.
She said parents can be become overwrought about head injuries but we still need to let our children play.
This month, share a photo of how you play or work safely with #ContainYourBrain to inspire others to do likewise.
Former Calgary Stampeder Randy Chevrier, who now wears protective gear as a Calgary firefighter, stopped by the kickoff event to support the cause.
Murison said it’s important to make sure helmets fit properly. She often sees people wearing them too far forward or backward. For more information on how to properly fit a helmet, visit Parachute Canada or My Health Alberta.
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