Why is Brain Injury awareness so important for Canadians?

The statistics below provide a better understanding as to why awareness is so important. The numbers were generated from research done in Canada, and the graphs make it clear; those living with brain injuries are among our friends and neighbors. Please take a few minutes to review the rest of this article as you will gain valuable insight as to the prevalence of brain injuries in Canada and how much funding these individuals need.

Brain Injury Statistics: From Prevalence to Awareness

Each year, over 200,000 Canadians experience a "brain injury". This number does not include suspected cases which means that the actual number may be higher than what has been reported. Although traumatic head injuries represent only about 15% of all incidence of brain injury cases, they account for much of the public health burden. They can occur as a result of misconduct or trauma.

The costs to treat injuries caused by traumatic brain injury are much greater than those resulting from illness or disease. The total cost is approximately $4 billion per year for acute hospitalizations, assessments and treatment by physicians, rehabilitation services, extended care services and long term disability benefits. This figure does not include indirect costs such as lost productivity due to time away from work or reduced earning capacity. It also does not reflect the significant personal impact on the person living with brain injury and their families.

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How Prevalent are Brain Injuries in Canada? What Causes them?

These Statistics help us understand what we're up against.

Boys sustain 60% of all brain injuries and men account for 70% of these injuries. It is clear that males are at a much higher risk to acquire a brain injury than females. Injuries usually result from either trauma or other medical conditions such as stroke or aneurysm. The top two reasons for traumatic brain injuries in Canada are falls and motor vehicle accidents making them the most common cause by far. Other causes include violence, sports, work-related accidents, abuse and self-inflicted injury.

Awareness: What do these statistics tell us? Why is awareness so important?

These statistics clearly demonstrate that traumatic brain injuries are very prevalent in Canada. The numbers may not be completely accurate but "the fact remains that over 200,000 Canadians - men, women, children and seniors - will suffer a brain injury this year."   Statistics also suggest that when taking into consideration all forms of brain injuries, head trauma is the most common reason by far. It is difficult to put an exact number on how many people are currently living with some form of long term impairment due to brain injury because there are so many types of injuries. For example, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has only been diagnosed in four deceased individuals in Canada however there have been reports of CTE in NFL players which suggests that more cases need to be studied in order for it to be accurately diagnosed in more people.

Negative Effects on Canadian Citizens

Negative effects on Canada due to brain injuries are numerous and some include physical disabilities, mental health disorders, poverty & unemployment, loss of leisure time activities as well as costs associated with hospitalization/long term care etc. Unfortunately there is no clear understanding of the extent to which Canadians are impacted by these issues because many cases go unreported or undiagnosed.