June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. With over 20,000 Canadians being hospitalized each year with an acquired traumatic brain injury (per Government of Canada website) there is a huge need for public education around the prevention and impact of traumatic brain injuries.

Did you know that:

  • There are more Canadians living with an acquired brain injury (ABI) than those living with multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injuries and breast cancer combined
  • 452 Canadians suffer a serious brain injury every day (1 person every 3 minutes!). This figure does not include mild brain injury statistics
  • There are two types of ABIs: non-traumatic and traumatic
  • Traumatic brain injuries are caused by forces outside the body (for example motor vehicle accidents, assault, sports injuries) and non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by something that occurs inside the body (such as a stroke, brain tumour or substance abuse)
  • Every person will respond differently to an ABI, but common impacts includes physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural changes

(Source: Brain Injury Association of Canada)

What can be done to prevent an ABI from occurring in the first place?

  • Wearing a seatbelt and securing children in proper carseats for their age and size
  • Wearing the correct helmet for sports like cycling, hockey, baseball and skiing
  • Taking precautions to prevent falls in children and the elderly (ie. installing hand rails, removing tripping hazards, safety gates for children around stairs)
  • If a previous head injury has occurred (even if a seemingly mild concussion) extra care should be taken to protect the individual from further head injuries as a prior brain injury may make the individual more susceptible to future brain injury.

How do you support someone suffering from an ABI?

  • Be patient with your loved one. They will likely find the uncertainties of brain injury recovery unsettling and frustrating
  • Don’t expect your loved one to be the same person they were before their injury. Recovery will take time.
  • Rehabilitation is key for recovery, but should be done under the advice and guidance of qualified medical professionals with support and encouragement from family and friends
  • Don’t take it personally if your loved one is rude or abrupt with you. This is a common symptom of someone suffering from an ABI
  • Look after yourself so you can look after your loved one

Your Client’s Mental Health: What every lawyer needs to know

On November 3rd, 2017, we appreciated the input by various specialist professionals, as Dan Corrin co-chaired this information-rich session on how to deal with mental illness in litigation; Your Client’s Mental Health: What every lawyer needs to know. The conference, and associated webcast for learning these critical skills, covers key areas such as identifying and dealing with mental illness, in order to best serve clients through the litigation process.

The conference opened with a high-level introduction around the context and reality of Mental Illness. This overview revealed the reality that mental health issues affect as many as 1 in 3 Canadians (within a lifetime), and emphasised the need for increased awareness, as well as Mental Health First Aid, to provide a set of skills for overcoming the stigma associated with Mental Illness. In spite of this reality around the incidence of mental illness, in the ground-breaking case of Mustapha v Culligan as outlined in the presentation: Mental Illness and the Law, made by Faith Hayman, wherein the plaintiff, who developed severe depression and anxiety after discovering a dead fly in a bottle of Culligan Water, did not win his case, owing to the judge’s decision that this could not have been reasonably foreseen. From this, it seems that the law is still forming the points of reference to deal with these cases.

These types of challenges in litigation, of liability for factors which occur within one mind, and how much this can be reasonably attributed to external forces, particularly in cases where the victim experiences things which cannot be objectively verified, create a tension in the space where knowing precisely how to understand the mental wellness of clients becomes an imperative. Specifically, in areas of outcomes involving mental illness without injury, we, as legal professionals, require a deep understanding of the circumstances of our clients, as well as a socio-emotional toolbox to help people we can consider as being at risk.

Following these contextual sessions, the event explored issues around clients presenting with anxiety disorders, and how to identify real suicide risks. The stress of litigating can have severe adverse effects on clients, especially for deeply personal and protracted cases, and understanding the preconditions, or identifying or recognising specific dispositions becomes important in managing such cases, or in identifying post-injury effects.

This fascinating suite of presentations together provided a robust set of tools for legal professionals. This serves to better equip them in understanding and caring for clients, but also in strategic case handling in an area where definitions have yet to find their place in legal precedent, and where already complex legal issues are made more so through the indefinable and uncertain aspects of ‘states of mind’.

In the field of brain injury law, mastering the layers of complexity, and managing litigation through a clear understanding of the client, before, during and after the incident takes a certain commitment. By presenting these key skills and definitions, we aim to open a dialogue around these issues, and to strengthen the professional or systemic response to mental illness, whether this be as a result of injury, stress, or the litigation process itself. And through this, to build this new factual framework for these types of cases, and this professional institution we represent – one so key to the attainment of rights.

Film Documents the Struggles of Snowboarder After Devastating Brain Injury

The Crash Reel, a new documentary film by Oscar-nominated director Lucy Walker, follows the story of elite US snowboarder, Kevin Pearce, who sustained a horrific brain injury just weeks before he was due to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Read more

Upcoming Events – Brain Injury Awareness Month

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada.

To raise awareness of the causes and impact of brain injuries, organizations throughout British Columbia are hosting events and fundraising activities, including:

  • Brain Injury Film Festival
  • Wheel, Walk, Run for Brain Injury Awareness
  • Adopt a Family 2013 Bake Sale

Read more

Jen’s Story of Recovery

After sustaining a hairline fracture to her femur, Jennifer Weterings was admitted to St. Paul’s Hospital. Within 24 hours she had developed progressive multi-organ failure, due to severe sepsis, secondary to MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). Her recovery took five months in hospital – from ICU to GF Strong – and is still continuing today.

On Friday, May 17th, 2013, Jen shared her story of recovery with medical and research staff at Vancouver General Hospital’s Lunch N’ Learn session, sponsored by Webster & Associates.

Read more

Wear Your Helmets, Hawaii!

no helmets are required to ride a bike in Hawaii

I’ve just returned from a fantastic holiday in Maui, Hawaii. Although I was surrounded by spectacular Hawaiian landscape, I couldn’t help but notice something(s) that detracted from its beauty… NO ONE WAS WEARING HELMETS! All around me, people were riding road bikes, scooters, cruisers and even motorcycles without helmets.

I know this is a laid back community with posted speed limits that mimic our school zones, but I also know that hitting the cement at any speed without proper head protection can cause severe brain damage. Read more

Headline Magazine – Spring 2013

The Spring 2013 issue of Headline Magazine is now available. Headline is an excellent source of news, events and research for the BC brain injury community. The magazine is produced quarterly by Mike Rossiter and Janelle Breese Biagioni.

In this issue:

  • The BC Brain Injury Association (BCBIA) and the Pacific Coast Brain Injury Association (PCBIA) Annouce Merger
  • BC Housing Grants Available for Home Adaptations
  • Paul Hardy Receives Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: Worth Talking About
  • And more

Read more

Adopt a Family 2013 Fundraiser | Monday, April 29

cupcake bake saleWe’re getting into the Christmas spirit a little early this year and with good reason. Webster & Associates, with the help of JR Rehab Services and social workers, is supporting low income families struggling because of brain injury.

WHAT: Bake sale (by donation)

WHEN: Monday, April 29, 2013

WHERE: VanCity Building, 5900 No. 3 Road Richmond
We will either be set up outside the main entrance or inside the VanCity Credit Union on the ground floor (if it’s raining).

WHY: Proceeds will go towards purchasing clothing, toys and food for low income families with brain injury this Christmas.

Stop by and grab a treat for a great cause!

Read our blog post about last year’s fundraiser.

Bake Sale Poster

Spreading the Holiday Cheer

Leading up to the holiday season, we worked with some fantastic organizations to help bring some extra holiday cheer to a handful of deserving families affected by brain injury.

We worked with the Prince George Brain Injured Group Society to “adopt” two families. Both were single parent families where the parent had suffered a brain injury.  We also worked with B.R.A.I.N (Brain Resource Advocacy & Information Network) to identify some of the organization’s members who could use some extra support during the holiday. These families were unable to obtain any financial assistance through the legal process (and therefore not families we could help in any other way).

With the help of JR Rehab Services Inc and social workers on the neurological ward at Vancouver General Hospital we raised money to purchase new toys, books, and even a bassinet for one couple expecting their first child. We also gathered some of our own items to donate.  All in all, we put together five boxes of wrapped presents. The presents arrived on the doorsteps of five very surprised and delighted families. We were thrilled to be able to play a small part in helping make their Christmas a happy and memorable one.

The whole team at Webster & Associates enjoyed the chance to support the brain injury community and we look forward to doing it again next year!

The Webster & Associates elves working away


All wrapped and ready to go


One of the surprised and thankful recipients



Yoga-Based Exercise Classes for Individuals with Neurological Conditions

Neuro-Ability Rehabilitation Services is offering  yoga-based group exercise classes for individuals with neurological conditions. Classes are led by a physiotherapist and are designed to help participants meet their physiotherapy goals.

Tuesday evenings, March 19 – April 30, 2013

675 East 17th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5V 1B5

What makes these classes special?
These small group classes are designed specifically for individuals with neurological conditions and are led by a physiotherapist with Hatha yoga teacher training. These classes are designed to cover the basics of breathing, stretching, and strengthening with a focus on yoga principles.

Who are these classes designed for?

These classes are adapted for individuals with neurological injuries. The minimum physical requirement is that the individual is able to do an independent transfer onto either a plinth or the floor and can roll onto their stomach with minimal assistance. Participants are able to follow verbal cues and instructions. Participants can use a treatment bed (plinth) if they are not able to get on and off the floor.

What is involved?

This session includes 2 parts:

1. One individual assessment (1 hour total)

  • This is mandatory for participants who are new to Neuro-Ability group classes, with the goal of ensuring the class is best suited to each participant’s needs.
  • These 1-hour individual assessments will be booked on ONE the following days between 5-7pm: Tuesday March 5th, Thursday March 7th, Tuesday March 12th, or Thursday March 14th, 2013.
  • This must be completed prior to starting the sessions if you are new to Neuro-Ability classes.

2. Seven group classes (1 hour and 15 minutes each)

How much does it cost?

  • Individual one-hour assessment = $100
  • 7 group classes = $245 ($35/class)

These classes are taught by a physiotherapist and may be covered by some extended medical plans. It is up to the participant to confirm what their provider will cover.

How do I sign up?

Please contact Anne at classes@neuro-ability.ca for more information.


Learn more at www.neuro-ability.ca