We are incredibly grateful to the members of our Scientific Advisory Committee for their support in developing evidence-based information for the brain injury community. They are doing great things in their respective fields – like Cameron Mang. As a practicing Kinesiologist and Certified Exercise Physiologist in the field of Neurorehabilitation, Cameron conducts research with real-world implications for people with neurological conditions. He is an assistant professor at the University of Regina, and has developed crucial links between research and community programming, fostering knowledge mobilization. Recently, he shared details of a community program Brain Power Hour.
There is a need for safe community programming for people with brain injury to address secondary impacts of the pandemic. The “Brain Power Hour” program manual will support expansion of low-cost exercise and recreation programs in Saskatchewan
After a brain injury, people experience many life changes, including losses in physical function and decreases in socialization and mental health. Rehabilitation after brain injury often ends within about three years from the injury, and people are not always able to maintain or build on the gains made in rehabilitation, sometimes regressing. The purpose of this study was to develop an outdoor exercise and recreational walking program and study its impact on the lives of people in late stages of recovery from acquired brain injury.
The “Brain Power Hour” exercise and walking program was developed and implemented with members of the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association (SBIA) in Regina, Saskatoon and Moosejaw in the spring and summer of 2021. Across Saskatchewan, 22 program participants consented to be involved in the study. Participants attended up to two, one-hour weekly group exercise and/or walking sessions. A researcher and program facilitator conducted interviews with participants in Regina during program delivery. Program facilitators recorded field notes describing notable experiences with the program.
Interview findings suggested that many people with acquired brain injury are not able to exercise or participate in recreation independently due to functional challenges and safety concerns. Individuals commented on the COVID-19–related disruption of therapy and community programming, which contributed to functional challenges, loneliness, and decreases in well-being. Interview responses suggested that the “Brain Power Hour” program provided a means to mitigate these negative impacts by providing physical and social benefits.
This project was made possible by the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association (SBIA) and was funded by the University of Regina Community Engagement and Research Centre – ‘Community Research and Action Fund”. Student funding for Ms. Jeannie Postnikoff was provided by the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research.