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ACC supports Brain Injury Awareness Week's focus

Media Release

25 June, 2004

ACC supports Brain Injury Awareness Week's focus

ACC today congratulated the Brain Injury Association for making concussion the focus of this year's Brain Injury Awareness Week.

ACC's General Manager Injury Prevention, Marketing and Communications, Darrin Goulding, said concussion can lead to much more serious brain injury if it goes undiagnosed.

"A second blow to the head when a person is concussed can result in permanent incapacity," he said.

"It is vital that people with suspected concussion avoid activity or playing sport until an accurate diagnosis is made. The risk of becoming seriously and permanently incapacitated is simply not worth it."

Moderate-to-serious concussion and other brain injury claims cost ACC $43 million in 2003.

To help manage concussion in sport, ACC, the Rugby Union and Sports Medicine New Zealand Sideline collaborated to produce the Sideline Concussion Check, a wallet-sized information pack that provides on-the-spot advice where it is suspected

"We are delighted that the Brain Injury Association is distributing the Sideline Concussion Check through its branches," Mr Goulding said.

Concussion is the most common head injury in sport. It typically follows a sudden, violent stopping or movement of the head, for instance, in a tackle or collision, and can occur with or without the loss of consciousness.

Symptoms include a vacant stare, slow responses to questions or instructions, slurred speech, feelings of nausea, blurred or double vision, ringing in the ears, headache, and any period of unconsciousness.

Anyone suspected of concussion needs to be checked by a doctor and then kept under observation for at least 24 hours after the injury in case their condition deteriorates.

Mr Goulding also noted that ACC had led the development of a safety helmet for use by farmers on four-wheel farmbikes (ATVs).

"Risk of injury on ATVs is high and a head injury can have a devastating impact, not just on farmers, but on spouses and relatives who share the burden of supporting them," Mr Goulding said. More information on concussion can be found at: http://www.acc.co.nz/injury-prevention/safe-in-sport-and-recreation/acc-sp ortsmart/common-injuries/concussion/index.html

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