10th Avenue was a sea of red, blue and green jerseys as players from Golden Minor Hockey, as well as the Golden Rockets ran through the streets of town to show their support for brain injury survivor David McGuire.
It was April 1 when McGuire began “A Run to Remember” in Newfoundland, a nawareness raising campaign that will see him running 7230 km by the time he finishes in Victoria.
After his run through town to the Golden Arena with the hockey players, McGuire gave a speech to the crowd, talking about difficulties of living with a brain injury, and the importance of prevention.
“The reason I’m talking to your age group, is because you are at the highest risk,” said McGuire to the crowd of mainly young hockey players. “I don’t want any of you to have to go through what I went through.”
In 2005, McGuire suffered from a subdural hematoma (brain bleed), and woke up in a hospital with some very serious long term damage.
Although he can walk and talk, something his doctors told him he may never be able to do again, he does suffer from short-term memory loss, and wakes up everyday with almost no recollection of what happened the day before.
“Tomorrow I likely won’t remember having met any of you,” he said.
Although McGuire’s injury was not necessarily caused by an accident, many brain injuries are, and men between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest rate of incidence.
McGuire took the time to explain to them just how their life could change if they suffered from a similar brain injury.
“I can’t play video games anymore, because I can’t remember what the buttons do…By the time I figure out which one to push, I’ve already been killed,” he said. “Nobody wants to be on my team because I really suck now.”
“A Run to Remember” is aimed at raising awareness above anything else, because funding cuts have seen local Brain Trust (the organization that helps brain injury sufferers cope) chapters close due to funding cuts.
“The only cure for a brain injury, is don’t have one,” said McGuire. “And having a brain injury is a really crappy way to spend the rest of your life.”
Due to the high occurrence of brain injuries among hockey player, Golden Rockets President Curt Thorne was very grateful to McGuire for his efforts.
“Thank you for everything you’re doing for us and for hockey players in general. Sometimes we don’t realize how prevaleny brain injuries can be, even in our own community,” said Thorne, adding that already three Rockets have suffered from concussions this year.
Brain injury has become known as the “silent epidemic,” affecting 166,455 people in Canada, and 22,000 people in B.C. each year. That is 456 people every day, and one person every three minutes in Canada.
McGuire is expected to complete his journey in Victoria on Dec. 9. He is still accepting donations through his website www.runtoremember.com