ABI PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
If you ever receive a harsh blow or shake to your head, you should not return to activity and should instead seek early diagnosis and treatment from a doctor or emergency room. The sooner you respond the better your chances for recovery.
Scientific evidence confirms that the brain needs recovery time from a sharp blow or shake. Your doctor will prescribe the terms but it usually involves bed rest, and very limited reading, talking and brain stimulation.
There is significant dialogue in the medical community around ways to improve early diagnosis, and experimentation with many forms of recovery and rehabilitation. The ABI patient and care giver must be a strong advocate in this process to seek out the kinds of medical specialists and recovery strategies that are best for you. For an initial list of care services in your province click on the Care Services tab.
The majority of acquired brain injuries, seen by emergency rooms across Canada, are treatable if diagnosed soon enough. The first line of treatment is immediate rest.
Diagnosing a concussion may take several steps. A doctor may ask questions about concussion and work/sport history, other recent injuries, and will conduct a neurological exam. This can include checking your memory and concentration, vision, coordination and balance. Further tests including a CT scan or MRI, can be important to assess for other skull or brain injury but they do not inform concussion diagnosis. In the majority of concussions, there will not be any obvious damage found on these tests. Sometimes the role of neuropsychological testing is important in identifying subtle cognitive (e.g., memory, concentration) problems caused by the concussion and may at times help to plan return to pre-injury activity. In addition, balance testing may also be required. Usually these are arranged by a concussion expert.
You should be cleared by your doctor to return to normal activity, and a gradual re-introduction of mild activity, monitored by your specialist will be recommended.
In contact sports, play safe and don’t initiate contact with your head or helmet, or target the head of another player.
Wear a helmet, despite the fact that helmets can’t always prevent concussions. Properly designed and certified helmets are certainly good protection in many circumstances at work or at play.
For more detailed information about ABI Prevention and Treatment see the following documents:
- GUIDELINES for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion – Recommendations For Parents
- ONF-TBI Guidelines 2nd Edition