4 June 2008
CDHB Supports Brain Injury Awareness Week
Concussion is a serious injury, with some people experiencing symptoms that can last months or even years after they have been hurt.
Canterbury District Health Board Clinical Neuropsychologist Deborah Snell, who works in the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service Concussion Clinic at Burwood Hospital, said that although most people believed concussion was only a minor injury, about 10% of all people with the injury have ongoing symptoms for months or even years. Of those with ongoing symptoms, 70% of people will recover within three months. However, 15% will have symptoms that last for more than a year. Common symptoms of concussion included fatigue, dizziness, headaches, cognitive and emotional problems. Concussion could occur even when someone had not lost consciousness.
This year’s Brain Injury Awareness Week, entitled Knocking out Concussion, which began yesterday, aims to highlight the seriousness of concussion, also known as Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI).
According to the Brain Injury Association of New Zealand, an estimated 24,000 people in New Zealand sustain a concussion every year, with many more cases going unreported and therefore undiagnosed.
Ms Snell said most people referred to the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service’s Concussion Clinic had been assaulted, been injured in motor vehicle accidents or had hit their heads against a hard object.
People attending the Concussion Clinic were offered information about concussion and given advice on how to adjust to life after their injury and manage their symptoms while they were recovering. Offering them reassurance that they would recover was also important.
*The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service’s Concussion Clinic is conducting a study that will look at the relationship between people’s perception of their illness and the way they cope and recover. It is hoped it will help staff to identify people who need more support and treatment and to improve understanding of why some people develop lasting disability after concussion.
*Anyone who has had concussion in the past three months is invited to take part. For more information, contact Deborah Snell at the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service’s Concussion Clinic.
To find out more about Brain Injury Awareness Week, see www.brain-injury.org.nz.