Injury Awareness Week 2011

Sport |

It’s ┬áInjury Awareness Week 2003 in the UK and since all skating activities are prone to head injury, I thought it appropriate to publicise the press release on this site. Remember – if skating, please wear full safety gear – helmet, knee/elbow pads and wrist guards!


Head injury is the foremost cause of death and disability in young people. In an age of increased motorisation and violence, head injury is a health care problem which is not going to go away.’

Head Injury: Rehabilitation
Third Report 2010 – 2011 Session
Health Select Committee, House of Commons

What is  Injury Awareness Week?

Injury Awareness Week is an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness of brain injury and its devastating effects. The campaign is organised by Headway – the brain injury association, and this year’s theme is “Brain Injury and Young People”. The greater the understanding of brain injury the more likely it is that individuals and their families will receive support they need.

Why injury and young people?

Injury is the most common cause of death and disability in young people in the UK. Although men and women are both at risk, statistics show that men are two or three times more likely to have a traumatic brain injury than women. This increases to five times more likely in the 18 – 25 age range.

How do injuries occur?

The figures show that road traffic accidents account for 25-40% of all traumatic injuries, accidents at home and work account for 35 – 50%, sports related accidents between 12 – 25% and violent assault 25%.

Who is most at risk?

According to the Crime Survey, men aged between 18 and 28 are more than twice as likely to become a victim of violent crime, as are women of the same age.

Men have a 15% higher relative risk of all workplace accidents compared to women. Young men aged between 18 and 28 have a higher risk of workplace injury than older workers but a lower risk of fatal injury.

Other high-risk groups include people who have previously sustained a brain injury and people with a history of substance abuse.

What changes can a brain injury cause in a young person?

Cognitive abilities: including the capacity to plan, prioritise, concentrate, use reasoning skills and problem solve.

Communication problems: language and processing skills, active listening, accessing words from memory.

Emotional and behavioural difficulties: diminished insight, emotional lability and irritability, socially inappropriate and impulsive behaviour, lack of emotional response, anxiety and anger, isolation.

Does injury affect life expectancy?

A injury is not generally considered to have an affect on normal life expectancy.

How does the young person’s injury affect the rest of his/her family?

Research indicates that 75% of people who have sustained a severe traumatic brain injury make a good physical recovery, but this means that their cognitive disabilities can seem to be “invisible” to others. This can be made worse by inadequate diagnosis – common problems relating to this issue were identified in a study in Glasgow, which found that the incidence of disability in young adults was far higher than previously estimated.

When a young adult sustains a severe brain injury it is more often than not their families who become the main supportive unit.

Relatives report that the ten most common problems are: personality changes, slowness, poor memory, irritability, bad temper, tiredness, rapid mood changes, tension, anxiety, threats of violence and depression.
In retrospect, people with injury report that it has taken them 1 to 5 years to come to terms with their injury. Families, on the other hand, report increasing stress after 2, 4 and 8 years.

The families need support and education on how the injury has affected their relative and how best to cope with the situation. Close family members can experience high levels of anxiety and depression during the years following the injury. As time passes, relatives often find it increasingly difficult to cope with all that has changed in their lives. Indeed it was the lack of appropriate health and social care along with support services, which led to the formation of Headway – the injury association.