Winter is upon us. With it comes an increased participation in winter sports and an increased incidence of traumatic brain injuries. Outdoor winter sports include ice skating, sledding, snowmobiling, snow-boarding, hockey and skiing. Indoor winter sports include basketball, volleyball, and indoor soccer. All of these have in common the increase in potential for heads hitting heads, and heads hitting the ground. In fact, an estimated one million children alone in this country sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. Every 23 seconds, a head injury occurs in the U.S. according to the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI). The majority of these are closed head injuries, also called concussions or traumatic brain injuries.
We need to devote more attention to prevention. It is estimated that 90 percent of head injury concussions could be prevented if people took more precautions. In the final analysis, the greatest tool we have against traumatic brain injury is prevention. This is not to discourage participation in winter sports, but to encourage safe participation in all that we do. So, if you are thinking about flooding your back yard for unprotected, unsupervised winter hockey or re-enacting Hockey Night in Canada in roller skates on your cement basement floors, think again.