I have officially experienced my first injury of the season. I’m sure the medical professionals in the town have seen plenty already, but this is my first this year, and it’s not even one I can brag about.
I fell on a gradual slope while cross country skiing (slowly, I might add), and gave myself whiplash.
Every year locals and tourists boast about their injuries, bragging about what crazy thing they did to get their arm in a sling.
Me…I lost my balance while practically standing still, and fell in such an awkward manner that my head bounced off the ground.
Fortunately I fell into fluffy snow, and was only injured due to the way my neck snapped back. But had I had the same fall while walking to my car on an icy street, I would be suffering from a very different injury right now.
Brain injuries are becoming increasingly prevalent in Canada.
The annual incidence of acquired brain injury in Canada is 44 times more common than spinal cord injuries, 30 times more common than breast cancer, and 400 times more common than HIV/AIDS. In fact, brain injury occurs at a rate greater than that of all known cases of Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injury, HIV/AIDS and Breast Cancer per year combined. 452 people suffer a brain injury every day in Canada. This amounts to one person injured with a traumatic brain injury every three minutes. (Brain Injury Association statistics).
In British Columbia alone, there are 22,000 cases a year, plus more than 180,000 currently living with the results of brain injury.
Many of these injuries result in partial, or permanent disability.
But it isn’t necessarily the dare devil antics that result in disaster. Quite often it’s the seemingly benign incidents, like falling on fluffy snow, that end up hurting the most.
On the same day as my fall I listened to a friend tell a story about a girl who fell on the ice while curling, and suffered such a serious brain injury that it has prevented her from working since it happened nearly five years ago.
Obviously we can’t prevent everything, and no one is going to walk around with a helmet all the time. But this is the time of year where one wrong step can take us out. It wouldn’t hurt us to be a little more aware of our surroundings.
It isn’t just the adrenaline junkies who get hurt.