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Brain Injury Awareness Week 28 June - 5

16 June 2004

Brain Injury Awareness Week 28 June - 5 July Urges Us To Take Concussion Seriously

Around 7,000 people are hospitalised each year in NZ after receiving a head injury. It is estimated that 30,000 people a year receive a significant blow to the head, with many cases going unreported

That "bit of a bump on the head", dismissed as nothing to worry about, is all too often a concussion that can have serious long-term consequences if left undiagnosed or untreated, the Brain Injury Association of New Zealand (BIANZ) warns.

Taking concussion seriously is the key message of Brain Injury Awareness Week which takes place this year from Friday 28 June to 5 July,

"We want New Zealanders to understand better how concussion occurs and how important it is to treat and manage it properly," says Harley Pope, director-marketing of the Brain Injury Association of New Zealand (BIANZ).

"Concussion often occurs in motor accidents and sports collisions and, less obviously, in playground or household impacts where a sudden, violent movement to the head causes the brain to bounce against the skull.

"Unfortunately, because there are often few obvious cuts, bruises and broken limbs, people cannot see the extent of the damage and mistakenly think the victim is fine," Mr Pope said.

"Concussion that goes undiagnosed and unreported is a real concern because a second impact before full recovery from the first can cause permanent brain injury. Many brain cells that could recover will die if injured again before healing is complete."

"Our message to sports coaches, teachers, parents and family members whenever concussion is suspected is always to seek expert help to assess the injury. No matter

taking concussion seriously … 2
what the victim may think, the greatest favour you can do them is to make sure they see a paramedic or doctor before resuming normal activity."

"All too often this is not happening and permanent life-changing damage is the result."

Local Brain Injury Association branches are distributing ACC-produced "Sideline Concussion Check" packs to sports organisations.

Brain Injury Association branches can also provide liaison officers who will
- give support to the victim and family,
- help find appropriate professional help
- provide advocacy assistance
- introduce them to support groups.

To help support this work, BIANZ will commence selling a nationwide lottery (first prize a Mitsubishi Colt Sport valued at almost $24,000) and a street bucket collection will be held on Saturday 3 July with the assistance of service clubs, staff members of corporate sponsor USL Medical, BIA members, families and friends.

ENDS

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