The Road to Recovery from Brain Injury Is Long

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Many brain injuries are invisible to the passerby but are life altering for the victim and their families. Brain injury can alter cognitive ability, physical ability and emotional stability. It can cause depression and volatility, it can cause lethargy and disinterest. There is no predictable recovery time. We simply don’t know enough about the brain.

Brain injury patients and their advocates are trying to foster a better understanding of the challenges of the road to recovery for other patients and the general public.

Christie McLardie of Oshawa is sharing her story publicly to raise awareness. She was hit in the head by a line drive while playing softball. She immediately collapsed, and someone called 911. She couldn’t speak, feel her left hand or the left side of her face. Paramedics rushed to Ajax hospital and she was immediately transferred to St. Michael’s trauma centre in Toronto. A craniotomy was performed to relieve pressure, and to remove bone fragments. She had two hematomas and ended up with a titanium skull plate and 70 staples.

She spent 6 weeks in the hospital in rehab and then another three months as an outpatient in ambulatory rehab. She had significant weakness to her left side. She continues to have cognitive impairments and has difficulty with recalling information she has read. She is fortunate that the accident happened during a work event and therefore WSIB has been funding her ongoing therapy three times a week. She requires naps daily and is undergoing PT and OT.

She said that emotionally there is shock followed by apathy and anger about the injury. She looks like her old self in the mirror, but the old self isn’t’ inside her.

Brain Injury Canada is working with people to raise the awareness that brain injury can happen to anyone. They advocate that acquired brain injury is a major public health concern that does not receive the attention that it should.

Did you know?

  • Brain injury is the NUMBER ONE cause of death and disability WORLDWIDE among children, youth and those under age 44.
  • Approximately 1.5 million Canadians live with the effects of an acquired brain injury
  • The annual incidence of ABI is greater than that of Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injury, HIV/AIDS and Breast Cancer combined.
  • Acquired brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability for Canadians under the age of 40.
  • Children and youth represent 30% of all brain injuries in Canada, with ABI the leading cause of death and disability among children.

Cost Of ABI

  • Each severe brain injury costs our medical system over $1,000,000 at the time of injury
  • Costs remain approximately $400,000 each year following the incident due to indirect expenses and follow-up treatment
  • The economic burden of acquired brain injuries and treatment, when combined, is estimated to be greater than $12.7 billion per year

For more information on Brain Injury Canada and the work they do click here.