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CHIEF CHATS: There’s no second chance when it comes to head injuries
Recently I was updated on an accident that occurred last spring. While this topic may not be related to criminal activity, it is about public safety and something I feel strongly about.
The youth involved in the accident suffered major head trauma and was lucky to survive - thanks to his helmet. The head injury however, has changed his life.
He has a difficult time concentrating, has developed behavioural issues and suffers from anxiety and sometimes depression. These changes occurred immediately after the accident that caused the head injury and, as a growing body of research shows, it may last his lifetime.
In another circumstance, someone I know very well was involved in a terrible bicycle accident in which he, too, was lucky to be alive.
He describes his experience after suffering severe head trauma:
“Having a head injury has changed me. While most people are able to recharge their battery to 100 per cent through sleep, rest or relaxation, I can’t. My battery never charges past about 60 per cent. My attention is often divided – if there is a distraction in the room, it takes all of my brain power to ignore it and this leads to mental and emotional fatigue.
I have forgotten the birth of three of my children because they were born before my accident and my long term memory is gone.
I am also more aggressive than I was before. This stems from a lack of patience for what is going on in my head. The knowledge that I will never be the same is hard to handle but I do take some comfort in knowing that I am not alone, that other people are going through what I am going through. I can’t imagine what it would be like as a teenager with a head injury.
Sitting in class trying to focus would be impossible and I can imagine the anxiety and frustration young adults with head injuries feel because they don’t understand what is happening to them.
But even though I have suffered and I have had to learn to live with a head injury, I am alive because I was wearing a helmet. I may not remember the birth of my children but I am home to tuck them in at night and for that I am thankful.”
There is research being done with the National Football League showing that retired players who suffered concussions during their careers have developed issues such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression and in the worst cases, have committed suicide. A head injury can last a lifetime and bring with it severe long term implications.
Head trauma is serious. Make it a top priority to protect the heads in your home from injury. Wear helmets at all times when doing activities such as riding bikes, skateboarding and skiing. Instill in your kids that helmets are a ‘must’ even when parents aren’t around. The bottom line is there aren’t many second chances when it comes to head injuries.
• Jim Cessford is chief of the Delta Police Department and has spent more than 40 years in law enforcement.